Globhe drones keeping tabs with school construction projects in Lesotho

The government of Lesotho has roped in the help of drone technology to keep track with school construction projects in rural parts of the country.

Started in 2022 with funding from the World Bank, the project will see the erection of 73 classrooms and the same number of toilets for 25 schools; which also received water tanks, teaching, and learning resources.

But keeping track of progress at the various construction sites was proving a cumbersome undertaking. Inspectors had to physically travel from their bases in urban settings and report back using pictures which were shared through social messaging platforms at times.

This, according to Tshegofatso Thulare, an education specialist and country manager for the World Bank in Lesotho, was proving hard too, as the bosses could not distinguish which project was which from the shared images.

“By the time we had got the solutions to the problems enacted with schools, months would have gone by in between, so we really needed a way to fill that gap,” Thulare said.

So; late last year, the government decided to work with crowd drone platform Globhe, to deploy drones to the construction sites and help track progress and map the school building sites in the rural communities.

Globhe works with a network of nearly 7,000 drone operators dotted in 131 countries around the world. Some of the operators are in Namibia; and they made the captured data available in 48 hours.

“(The presence of drones) made all those things unambiguous, so we were all talking from the same script, which is also really helpful as a project team.”

From relying solely on reports written by engineers, and social media photos now project managers could now get near real-time solutions on a single platform.

Even better, the drone operators contracted for the project are local entrepreneurs who have the advantage of speaking the local language, being familiar with the terrain.

The world children’s body UNICEF reckons that education is one way to defeat poverty and create employment opportunities in the global south, with over 600million children standing to benefit from an education in reading and Mathematics.

“Inadequate infrastructure means that a rainy day or any bad weather day is a missed school day, so there is a vital need of actually having adequate infrastructure in schools.”

As it stands, the project in Lesotho is set to benefit over 2,000 children with a safe place to get an education, besides creating employment for the 2,873 locals involved with construction at the moment.

Not to mention the drone operators involved with monitoring, inspection and mapping. Infrastructure is one of the many industries where drone data is vital to progress tracking and project management.

“We are looking into how to systematize drone technology for similar projects with a variety of stakeholders,” said Thulare.

“I think more than anything, it is the amount of information that it’s helped us gather and be able to make informed decisions. I think the senior management in the organisation, including within the Ministry of Education, the amount of relief they feel to be able to actually see the progress.”


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