Lusungu Lisa Mwale - Malawi
African Drone and Data Academy Students
As a daughter of a farmer and a forest manager, I grew up watching and experiencing deforestation and its effects first hand while living in the biggest human-made forest in Malawi called Chikangawa. As a child, I never thought much about destruction until when I grew older and went for further studies in China, where I studied aircraft manufacturing (aeronautical engineering).
After graduation, it was hard to find a job related to my studies, so I worked various jobs in Malawi and Dubai until I joined the Department of Civil Aviation as an intern. Through my work at the civil aviation, I came into contact with drones for the first time when I worked on USAID- and GIZ-funded projects.
“I joined ADDA because I wanted to learn how to build drones and drone data systems. So far, I have learned project management, aircraft design, radio communication, GIS and photogrammetric engineering,” said Lusungu.
Growing up, I remember how my father struggled to take care of the forest. For example, during fire outbreaks, he and his team would have a hard time to put out the fire. They also struggled to control encroachers using vehicles. With drones, all these can be done more efficiently and effectively.
A lot of Malawian farmers, including my mother, still use old and slow farming methods. With drones activities like crop monitor, locating the best places for irrigation systems and targeted pest control can be done faster and more precisely.
Incorporating drone and data technology into farming will help to reduce costs, increase food production and reduce malnutrition which affects a lot of children in Malawi.
Youth unemployment is very high in Malawi. I plan to use the knowledge and skills gained from the Academy to set up and operate a drone company. This company will employ youths interested in science. I want to build affordable drones for smallholder farmers. Later in life, I want to settle in the Viphya plantations (forest) in northern Malawi and work with climate change companies to address deforestation.