With humanitarian relief and empowerment in mind UNICEF is expanding its network of drone testing corridors.
Now drones are going to help empower children through many different initiatives in a collaborative effort by UNICEF and the Government of Sierra Leone (led by the Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation and Ministry of Transport and Aviation). According to media reports based Sierra Leone will serve as a new drone-testing site for humanitarian and development to improve the lives of children living in hard to access areas. The country will be the fourth in a network of drone testing corridors launched by UNICEF and the governments of Malawi, Vanuatu and Kazakhstan. Plans are also underway to launch a similar drone testing corridor in Namibia.
This drone corridor will enable better development and testing of drones for aerial imagery and transportation. Mapping infrastructure, agriculture and transportation focused on the delivery of life-saving medical supplies and perishable goods will be included in these aerial imaging projects. This will naturally create a demand for locally available skill needed to operate and maintain drones which will also be supported by this initiative through education programs.
Christopher Fabian Principal Adviser of UNICEF Office of Innovation said, “From the world’s first drone-delivered vaccines in Vanuatu, to the tallest drone airspace for search and rescue in Kazakhstan, to stopping the spread of malaria in Malawi, we’re constantly expanding the ways in which we can use drones for social good,” adding that,”But today’s expansion of a drone corridor in Sierra Leone is proof we won’t stop there. UNICEF is exploring ways of delivering similar solutions in a variety of environments – globally and at scale.”
Namibia plans to use a drone delivery network to eventually transport blood samples from rural areas to central laboratories. High prevalence of HIV has been detected by UNICEF In the Zambezi region of Namibia. Mostly during every monsoon rural communities in the region are often cut off by floods for up to six months. Drones could help save the situation by rendering these unreachable communities within reach, making a significant contribution to efforts to tackle HIV and AIDS.
UNICEF plans to further extend its drones programme by work with Irelandia Aviation with the aim of doing research and finding prototype and test innovative solutions for drone operations. The collaboration will result in strengthening drone based efforts for large-scale mapping, machine learning, data analytics and the emergency response capability of the countries where UNICEF functions.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children across more than 190 countries and territories working for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. New drone testing corridors to launch in Sierra Leone and Namibia – read a statement from the UNICEF.
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