ADDA graduates 6th cohort

ADDA graduates 6th cohort

The sixth cohort under the African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA) at the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) on Friday graduated 16 students drawn from Malawi and other African countries.

Training amidst the devastating effects of cyclones Ana and Gombe, one group of graduands focused their projects on disaster management, especially floods in areas of preparedness, mitigation, recovery and impact assessment.

Another group project was a road map drone system in which the authorities can monitor the country’s road networks if they have been compromised by floods or other factors to alert motorists in advance of any dangers lurking on the roads.

The two cyclones claimed lives and caused havoc on the roads leading to motorists being swept away, roads getting cut, bridges getting washed away and development of potholes, all affecting road travel and business.

With all this in mind, the ADDA graduands could not resist the temptation to explore solutions for the disasters from modern drone and data technology, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

MUST Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Jonathan Makuwira said drone technology can be a solution to most of the challenges in times of disaster when mobility and access becomes a hindrance to rescue and other management initiatives.

He encouraged the graduands to be “game changers” in as far as driving the high technology agenda in line with the Malawi 2063 industrialisation pillar.

“Africa is full of youths who are emerging into a new generation of scientists and innovators. You have a huge task ahead of you because you have to get prepared to take up leadership roles, including in technology development and advancement,” said Professor Makuwira.

Interestingly, all the instructors during the course were local and youthful, an indication that this technological advancement is here to stay.

The six-week training attracted students from Malawi, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroun, The Gambia, Kenya, Angola, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. The last cohort has foreign students from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Eswatini.

The graduands went away with two ADDA Level 2 certificates, Drone and Data Technology and Trusted Operator Programme as well as Remote Pilot Licence administered by Malawi’s Department of Civil Aviation.

ADDA is a partnership involving MUST, UNICEF and US-based carrying out this training in 25 African countries through partnership with UNICEF, Virginia Tech and Furham Universities and so far it has graduated over 506 youths with 70 percent of them in jobs.