8 of 16 graduate in 4th cohort of African Drone and Data Academy include foreign nationals

The 4th cohort of graduates 

By Duncan Mlanjira

After the success execution of three classes of the African Drone and Data Academy through Malawi University of Science & Technology (MUST) through training Malawian youth, the 4th cohort included 8 foreign nationals from the 16 that graduated last week.

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They were from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Eswatini joining the 8 Malawian youths that were equipped with knowledge and skills on various aspects of drone operations — including its manufacturing, flying and research.

As in previous cohorts, 10 women and 6 men while five of the foreigners were females in the 5-week course from which they received two level 2 certificates — Drone & Data technology and Trusted Operator Programme as as as Remote Pilot Licence administered by Malawi Department of Civil Aviation.

The African Drone and Data Academy is carrying out this training in 25 African countries through partnership with UNICEF and US-based Virginia Tech and Furham Universities and so far it has graduated over 432 youths with 70% of them in jobs.

The objective of the courses — with 60% targeting females — is to equip African youths with 21st Century drone flight and data analysis to be applied on various fields such as agriculture, education, health and many other areas.

Present at the graduation ceremony at MUST campus at Goliati in Thyolo were, amongst others, Vice-Chancellor Prof. Jonathan Makuwira and Department of Civil Aviation’s Chief Flight Operations Officer, Captain Hastings Jailosi.

Professor Makuwira said the next cohort is already in class to graduate in December as MUST aims to create a centre of excellence in drone technology and asked the graduands to continue networking amongst themselves to improve on their skills.

Captain Jailosi present the drone aviation certificate

Captain Jailosi, who also trained previous cohorts, observed that this class was very exceptional as each passed their exams at one goal.

He implored on them to remain professional and strictly observe all the remote piloting aviation regulations.

In Malawi, African Drone and Data Academy operates from Lilongwe and it partnered with MUST to take advantage of technology skills that the Thyolo-based university imparts on Malawian youths, most of whom are not its own intake.

MUST is also in partnership with Technical, Entrepreneurial & Vocational Education and Training Authority (TEVETA) to identify and train community innovations that can be commercialized targetting the high population of unemployment amongst young people.

The initiative — as well as the drone technology — is to produce skilled workforce that will support and advance the MW2063 industrialisation and technology agenda.

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