The empty airfield, while devoid of planes, feels full of life and excitement. The breeze keeps a tattered orange wind sock moving. And in the distance, the sounds of young people playing at a nearby school fills the air, reminding everyone why we're here.
On a hot and windy day in Kasungu, a drone operator prepares his flying machine for an important project. Joined by officers from the government’s Department of Agriculture and staff from three United Nations agencies, the operator steers the drone high into the clear blue sky. From its vantage point, the drone captures dozens of images of local crop fields.
In the middle of a muddy field next to a reservoir in Kasungu District, a team of scientists are hard at work. Boxes of equipment lie scattered around a patch of dry ground, where Lancaster University’s Michelle Stanton programmes an automated drone flight into a laptop perched on a metal box. With a high-pitched whirr of rotor blades, the drone takes off and starts following the shoreline, taking photos as it goes.
A drone being tested to monitor crop production and vegetation, to support subsistence farmers © UNICEF Malawi/2018/Scheibenreif By Michael Scheibenreif, UNICEF Malawi Friends recently asked me if reports in the media about the Israeli Defense Forces’ use of drones to drop tear gas on protesters along the Gaza border affects the way I envisage the … Continue reading Why I still talk about ‘drones’
By Rebecca Phwitiko, UNICEF Malawi Aerial image of area 23, one of the populous townships in Lilongwe © UNICEF Malawi/2018/Moving Minds Multimedia Everything is carefully done. Clinicians put on their gloves, masks, protective coats and boots as they prepare to attend to patients in a cholera treatment camp at Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe. The camp … Continue reading Drones for cholera response: innovating for children in Malawi
By Jennifer M’meta, Form 4 student, Chinsapo Secondary School Jennifer M’meta, Form 4 student, Chinsapo Secondary School © UNICEF/2018/Naomi Kalemba UNICEF has introduced drones as one of the ways to address the ongoing cholera outbreak. The drones are used to map out affected locations and places most likely to be affected by cholera. Recently, UNICEF … Continue reading An innovation to help fight against the outbreak of cholera in Malawi
By Michael Scheibenreif PhD, UNICEF Office of Innovation Kasungu Aerodrome © UNICEF Malawi/2017/Suresh Muthukrishinan In November, an aviation milestone was achieved in Malawi, as a team from Virginia Tech supervised a fully autonomous, 19 km simulated drug delivery flight in a drone designed and built by Malawian students. The aircraft, called EcoMalawi, was designed at … Continue reading Malawi: Low-cost drone built by students delivers medicine over 19 km distance
By Naomi Kalemba, UNICEF Malawi Ethel Pondelani a student from Malawi University of Science and Technology, UNICEF’s Michael Scheibenreif and Selina Kasambara at Kasungu Aerodrome © UNICEF Malawi/2017/Suresh Muthukrishinan In Malawi, the majority of girls shy away from mathematical and science subjects. Selina Kasambala is an exception. From a young age, she has always loved … Continue reading Students making drones that will benefit communities in Malawi
Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) staff analyze a map of the affected area ©UNICEF Malawi/2017/Jacob Nankhonya By Judith Sherman, Chief of HIV/AIDS, UNICEF Malawi At 9 am on 8 November 2017, the Deputy Director of Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), Dyce Nkhoma, received a phone call from … Continue reading Testing the use of drones for emergency flood response
In July 2017, the Government of Malawi and UNICEF launched an air corridor to test potential humanitarian use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones. The corridor is the first in Africa and one of the first globally with a focus on humanitarian and development use. It is centred on Kasungu Aerodrome, in … Continue reading Humanitarian drone testing corridor launched in Malawi