In the 21st Century, digital skills will be critical for sustainable national development as Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies like 3D printers, artificial intelligence and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) become increasingly pervasive. Young people who will become exposed to the applications of these advanced scientific and technology tools will need to be equipped with the right skills.
In an effort to nurture and optimise digital literacy in Sierra Leone, DSTI and UNICEF SL, organised a one-day training session for 40 drone enthusiasts at the Njala University Innovation Center, Mokonde Campus. The training session brought together people from diverse academic disciplines, including Government workers, geographers, environment conservationists, engineers, multimedia creatives, etc. who each are seeking to apply the technology to their various disciplines.
The training was facilitated by DSTI’s UAV Technical Lead and certified drone pilot, Hafsatu Rakie Sesay. Participants received an introductory lesson on the basics of drone flight, types of drones, general statistics on drone technology, different drone use cases, and laws regulating drone use within Sierra Leone. The training also focused on safety in drone aviation, with a primary goal of ensuring that life and property are protected during any use of drones. In addition to learning about specific use cases, the training emphasised the use of UAVs as data collection tools across sectors.
“People must tap into the wave of opportunity that drone technology offers. Training set the stage grooming and empowering Sierra Leone’s young drone ecosystem.” – Hafsatu Rakie Sesay, DSTI’s UAV Technical Lead and Certified Drone Pilot.
The training featured an interactive Q&A session during which participants asked questions and discussed areas of interest, including employment opportunities for drone pilots, policy implications for unlicensed drone use, use of drones in construction, industrial deployment of drones and use of drones for disaster response.
The possibility of drones being deployed in almost every area of development is simply fascinating, John Alhaji Senessie, one of the participants declared. Speaking on his experiences, he furthered that, “‘up-scaling radical tech interventions such as drones is what Sierra Leone needs to cultivate cutting-edge digital solutions for a more robust nation-building drive.”
Ms. Sesay affirmed plans to complete the theoretical training with hands-on a live demo of safe uses of UAVs by all the participants/ DSTI maintains a drone corridor at the Mokonde campus of Njala University. Future initiatives will also include networking with professionals in drone space.
In line with the objective of developing Sierra Leone’s drone ecosystem organically, DSTI, in partnership with UNICEF Sierra Leone and the Njala University, remains invested in the business of enhancing the latent potential of human capital development to transform Sierra Leone into an innovation and entrepreneurship hub.
Mariama Rogers: Communications and Business Development Officer – Email firstname.lastname@example.org or Media@dsti.gov.sl, Tel +23275709963
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