Women And Drones Africa launched

It seems Louise Jupp has pledged not to catch a wink of sleep until every citizen of Africa is holding a drone, a book about drones, or – at the very least – some paraphernalia that they have heard about drone technology at some point in their lives and are on the way to get involved like everybody else is.

It was only last week that the South Africa-based drone enthusiast announced the launch of the sequel to her best-selling anthology, Drone Professional 1 – which is obviously called Drone Professional 2 – and now comes the news that the Africa chapter of Women and Drones, which Louise and the Women and Drones leadership have been working on since late last year, has now gone live.

According to information on their website, Women And Drones is a membership organisation dedicated to driving excellence in the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) industry by achieving equity and participation of women in all disciplines and across all employment sectors.

“We are partnering with companies committed to an inclusive culture where women can thrive,” the organisation says. “Through our educational efforts, we support women and girls in the growing market for talent, with programs from kindergarten to career. Our Women And Drones jobs board is balancing the gender equation by connecting companies with women to fill open positions.  Our goal is to inspire and support more women to pursue careers in STEM and aviation.”

And now that organisation with such noble ambitions for the girl child has branched out of Illinois, USA, for the first ever time, and opened its first international chapter in Africa.

Women and Drones explained that it felt that Africa was ripe to join the exclusive club because of latest drone developments on the continent that involve multiple examples of ‘drones for good’ champions bringing in the benefits of drone technology to various industries – and many of these champions are women.

“On these solid foundations lies the opportunity for inspiring more women and girls to enter the African drone industry by showcasing these pioneering women entrepreneurs, pilots, program managers and professionals from across the African continent.”

The African chapter will be led by Jupp, a seasoned drone professional who really needs no introduction to regular readers of this magazine. Besides galvanising contributions for the two books, Louise also runs Terreco Aviation, a company that offers drone-based consulting services.

“We will start by showcasing trailblazing women in the African drone industry through a video series on the Women and Drones YouTube channel,” she says of the new organisation. “In the series, we will feature women explaining why and how they became involved in the drone industry, some of the challenges they overcame and opportunities they see for women now and in the future. They also offer advice for girls and women who might be interested in the drone industry but don’t know where to start.”

Besides, just like what happens with the main organisation, members will engage in weekly online fireside chats where they can invite other industry players outside the membership for fellowship, in sessions that will feature guest speakers from the drone industry offering insights, case studies, services as well as best practice guidance.

Said Jupp; “With time, we will expand the activities and support features of Women and Drones Africa for members to include benefits such as workshops, webinars, mentoring and discounted access to conferences or training programs,” says Jupp.

Women and Drones founder, Sharon Rossmark, who launched the venture in 2017, expressed her excitement at expanding into Africa.

“The numbers of women across the African continent participating in the commercial drone industry have been increasing,” says Rossmark. “We will establish strategic partnerships to support their efforts when it comes to exploring emerging applications. As digital transformation expands, we envision women being major catalysts for new business ventures.”


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