The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) along with Sierra Leone's government (led by the Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation and Ministry of Transport and Aviation) have announced that they will be establishing a drone corridor for the development and testing of drones for aerial imagery and transportation in the country. UNICEF further started that plans are also in progress to launch a similar drone testing corridor in Namibia.

Previously, UNICEF launched the world's first ever humanitarian drone testing corridor in Malawi.

"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. 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, " said Christopher Fabian Principal Adviser of UNICEF Office of Innovation.

Drones for humanitarian deliveries

Over the past few years, drones have started playing an important role in Africa as far as humanitarian issues are concerned. One such example is how first Rwanda, later Tanzania, and most recently Ghana have started using drones for delivering of much needed medical supplies especially in difficult to reach parts of the countries.

UNICEF says that for their drone testing corridors, aerial imaging projects will include mapping infrastructure, agriculture and transportation to focus on the delivery of life-saving medical supplies and perishable goods. Added to this, they They will support education programs with the aim of developing the skills needed to operate and maintain drones in each country.

"Drones could render these unreachable communities within reach, making a significant contribution to efforts to tackle HIV and AIDS."

Cover image credit: Drone set to fly to film area photographs after devastating floods hit Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe early February. © UNICEF/UN057433/Brown

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