Unicef opens first African Drone and Data Academy in Malawi

Unicef announced on monday, the opening of the first African UAV and Data Academy (ADDA) in Lilongwe, Malawi. The training center, developed in partnership with Virginia State Polytechnic University and the University of Science and Technology of Malawi, aims to equip young Africans with skills in the use of UAVs for humanitarian development and commercial purposes.

The project is scheduled to last four years. About 150 students will be trained in two cohorts, through a 12-week certificate course. “The inaugural class of the ADDA includes 16 students from Malawi and 10 from across Africa. More than half of the students (55 percent) are women with undergraduate degrees in science, technology or engineering. The second ADDA cohort will start its training mid-April 2020,” Unicef said. The call for applications is open until 26 January.

The training will combine theoretical and practical methodologies for the manufacture, testing, and flight of UAVs, with an emphasis on professionalization. This will give graduates the skills needed for jobs using UAV applications in the agriculture, health and natural resource monitoring sectors.

Thanks to funding from the UN agency’s partners, the training courses are free of charge. In addition, students will be offered full scholarships covering transportation, board, and lodging.