For drones to be adequately and effectively permitted to fly for Social Good applications such as disaster relief and management, reliable regulations and flight permits taking into account specific areas of applications is crucial. A good example is the latest flooding in Dar es Salaam due to the heavy rains of these weeks.
Currently, Tanzanian authorities are establishing new regulations on the use of drones, a process that includes stakeholder meetings to gather the input of all parties involved, from government to commercial drone pilots to private citizens using drones for recreational purposes. This ongoing process does not yet explicitly address the application of drones in the areas of Social Good and Research, two areas that have very specific needs when it comes to flying drones.
To address the specific use of drones in these areas and bring together the many stakeholders involved, ESRF (Economic and Social Research Foundation), Tanzania Flying Labs and WeRobotics co-organized a Policy Dialogue Workshop on Drone usage for Social Good and Research at the ESRF Conference Hall in Dar es Salaam on May 4, 2018.The goal of this workshop was to bring together government officials from various ministries, including regional district officials of Mwanza and Simiyu districts, authorities in charge of the drone regulations, institutions, NGOs and drone operators of the private sector to identify the possible use cases and specific needs in terms of regulations and flight permits for social use and research.
The workshop was led by Mrs. Margareth Nzuki, ESRF’s Head of Knowledge Management & Innovations and facilitated by veteran-facilitator Dr. H. Bohela Lunogelo, former Executive Director of ESRF. While I was honored to lead the introduction part in collaboration with my colleague Leka Tingitana, Managing Director of Tanzania Flying Labs, the important work of the afternoon was done by the over 30 attendants who brought together a diverse set of inputs and a long list of needs and ideas.
Based on the use cases and needs identified, ESRF will now draft a policy recommendation for TCAA and the Government, to be included in the current discussions and stakeholder inputs for the Tanzania’s new drone regulations that are expected for later this year.
We are very grateful to ESRF for their collaboration and expertise on this issue that is of highest importance for the development of emerging technologies in Tanzania and would also like the thank all the attendees of the workshop who have graciously shared their experiences, knowledge and needs with us to make this workshop a success.
Written by Sonja Betschart, Co-Founder