Botswana hops aboard the Flying Labs drone

It is the seventh drone and robotics services franchise in Southern Africa, the 21st in Africa and the 40th in the world.

WeRobotics has just given birth to another baby; and this time it is in Botswana.

Botswana Flying Labs is the latest in the growing network of drone and robotics entrepreneurs, spawned out of WeRobotics’ vision to see young people leading the search for solutions to problems in their respective countries.

Running under the aegis of Ka Pula Drones, Botswana Flying Labs is led by veteran aviator Sizwe Makepe and is dedicated to nurturing future innovators by creating as many opportunities as possible for Batswana youth to embrace drones, robotics, and AI.

With 3,000 flights and zero violations under his wing, Makepe says upon his return home after some years in Switzerland, he noticed a significant information gap in the unmanned aviation field in Botswana.

“While neighbouring countries had already embraced drone technology at the time, Botswana’s drone industry had yet to get off the ground,” Sizwe says.

Then last year, Sizwe attended the Drone Conference in Zimbabwe hosted by Precision Aerial, the custodian of Zimbabwe Flying Labs, where he met fellow peers in the industry, including Flying Labs from other countries.

Seeing a chance to advance the drone economy in his country, Makepe decided to apply for membership of the Flying Labs network.

That year-long affair has resulted in the christening of Botswana Flying Labs as the latest inductee into the worldwide network.

“Capacity building among the youth forms the core of Botswana Flying Labs’ activities,” Botswana Flying Labs says.

“Through STEM programs and drone training, the team aims to give young people the opportunity to grow up conscious of the transformative power of technology.

“By nurturing these skills and knowledge among the youth, Botswana Flying Labs will create a generation capable of leveraging these advancements to address local challenges and contribute to sustainable development.”

And it looks like the new kid on the block will hit the ground with a bang too, as one of their first programmes of action is to introduce STEM lessons to young Batswana in the local Setswana language.

The STEM ka Setswana program, which will teach STEM in Setswana, is part of Sizwe and his team’s work to realize a future-driven Botswana. Accessibility to technological education remains a formidable challenge in many countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, as a vast majority of the information is unavailable in local languages.

“Believing that language should not be a barrier to the endless possibilities technology presents, Botswana Flying Labs have put themselves on task to unearth and nurture the brilliant young minds in the many small villages where English is not widely spoken.”

“STEM ka Setswana will launch in early 2024, with Mahotshwane village serving as the base for their pilot projects. From there, Botswana Flying Labs will expand the program to other villages nationwide in collaboration with different government ministries. In addition, Botswana Flying Labs will continue offering other STEM programs, after-school activities in schools in Gaborone, and comprehensive drone training.”

We welcome Botswana Flying Labs to the African drone family and wish them all the success they deserve.


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