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Drones Touted as the Solution to Social Issues

The graduation ceremony The graduation ceremony - pic by Luka Beston

Drone technology in capturing data has been touted as one of the solutions to critical social issues affecting the country such as natural disasters.

This comes as recently; the country has been hit with floods induced by cyclones that made some roads impassable and many areas inaccessible for physical assessment and humanitarian response.

However, Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Jonathan Makuwira, has told Zodiak on Friday that as the country is facing various disasters, there is need to embrace drones to capture credible and real time data to inform decisions not based on speculations in planning and mitigating such events.

Professor Makuwira said the technology will help the country to actualize critical issues enshrined in Malawi implementation plan Agenda 2063, for instance urbanization, public health and disaster risk management.

"It is crucial because if you look at what has happened to Malawi over the past three months actually there is now a phenomenon where the country is on kind of trajectory where cyclones are hitting so hard. So, the drone technology program will add value in building capacity not only to graduates here in Malawi but even in Africa because disasters are common globally.

"So, the more we produce graduates who are well equipped to manage disasters, the better," he said.

Meanwhile, through UNICEF, on Friday 16 youths from 10 African countries graduated with certificates in drone technology at MUST under the African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA).

UNICEF Program Specialist for African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA) Postar Chikaoneka, said equipping youths with 21st century skills is key in addressing developmental challenges affecting children, women and broader members of African communities.

"We are looking at equipping youths with 21st century skills that allow them to address some of developmental challenges that we have across the continent. So, we focused specifically on drone and data technology here that can be used across different sectors such as health, agriculture and education to ensure that we improving the lives of children, women and broader members of African communities," he said.

One of the graduates, an Irrigation engineer, Agnes Mmina said "drone technology will help me to precisely sort out agriculture related problems by mapping, designing land and irrigation systems."

The graduates were drawn from Malawi, Ghana, Gambia, Namibia, Cameroon, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Kenya among others.

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