Lois Msamatha Kamuyango - Malawi
African Drone and Data Academy Students
Like most Malawians, I grew up in a rural area. I went to both primary and secondary schools in the beautiful Mulanje district that is famous for its big tea and coffee estates. After completing secondary school, I studied for a bachelor’s degree in Earth Sciences at the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST).
After graduating from MUST, I joined an Oklahoma State University project that was doing structural mapping of selected areas in Chikwawa and Nsanje districts in Malawi. From there, I moved to Lafarge Cement Malawi as an intern and worked on a retail mapping survey where we mapped out shops that sell cement in the country. Later, I was involved in a limestone exploration project.
My interest to get into ADDA developed when MUST arranged a meeting between the best final year science students and Dr Kevin Kochersberger from the Virginia Tech.
I have been at the Academy for over a month now and have learned how to build drones; the techniques behind the motion of drones; the performance of drone batteries, motors; and the payload for the drones. Most importantly, I designed, assembled and successfully flew an s500 quadcopter drone using QGround Control software. I also built an Ecosoar drone which, unlike the s500 drone has a fixed wing.
Malawi’s economy relies heavily on agriculture. Unfortunately, there is not much use of technology in this sector. After ADDA, l plan to introduce the use of drones into farming. I want to become a commercial farmer and grow crops for export. Commercial farming will mean growing crops on a huge scale which will require innovative ways of monitoring. I intend to use drones to make farming operations like pest and disease monitoring faster and cheaper. Before I venture into farming, I am going to use the skills gained here to work as a technology and innovations consultant to accumulate capital for the farming project.
As far as my community is concerned, I will mentor girls who are interested in sciences to motivate them to venture into new areas of study like drones and data.