LILONGWE (Reuters) – For Ethiopian aeronautical engineer Lydia Elias, building and piloting a drone to support humanitarian and development projects on the continent of her birth has been a lifelong dream.
Now, as a student at Africa’s first drone academy, she is about to make it come true.
The institute is in Malawi, and builds on the work of a pilot scheme launched in 2017 with support from U.N. children’s fund UNICEF, in which drones have been used to deliver medical supplies, monitor crops and map cholera outbreaks.
As drones become smaller, more reliable and more affordable, their role in such projects – on a continent prone to natural disasters and dotted with isolated communities – seems certain to increase.
“Aeronautical engineers are very few in my country,” said Elias, 23, as she set off to practice piloting a drone.
“After learning I will try to teach my people. I have an aerospace club, so I will try to transfer this knowledge to (colleagues) in my…
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