Open Skies Fellows
African Tech for African Data
About OPEn skies fellows
African youth are normally left behind in technological skills and opportunities, leading to an overreliance on external experts to solve their community challenges. This fellowship is specifically designed to break this vicious circle, change mindsets, and expose youth to opportunities that will lead to skills development and problem-solving by developing technical skills. This will not only benefit the fellows in the program but will act as living evidence of how youth technical skills support can pave the way to technological evolution and how the learning can be used to design other similar projects.
The program — Open Skies Fellows: African Tech for African Data — is implemented through a strong partnership with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) and Uhurulabs. The partners will work together to bridge this skills gap between youth and the promise of new technologies, with the conviction that all they need are resources, time to develop, and mentorship.
The program is broadly focusing on three main goals:
Develop the next generation of African experts on frontier technologies, emphasizing women as participants and leaders
- Select and develop 40 Open Skies Fellows over two years
- 4 cohorts of 10 African youth, will receive 5 month fellowships
- Prioritize female fellows, using a 70/30 ratio to accommodate for the existing imbalance
Support innovative and practical projects in local communities for social good using technology
- Support community projects addressing local needs, honing practical skills
- Fellows will carry out small-scale projects addressing a local need
- Fellows will give workshops at high schools to catalyze interest in frontier tech for 320-480 students
Cultivate existing hubs of open data, frontier technology and innovation at OMDTZ and throughout the region
- Cultivate hubs of open data, frontier technology and innovation at OpenMap Development Tanzania and throughout the region
- Existing hubs will receive support and engagement from the program
“Open Skies Fellows” is a fellowship program designed to develop youth in urban settings, giving them power and responsibility to gain technical and social skills, so they can leverage the full potential of frontier technologies.
Open Skies Fellows will have an opportunity to gain skills that will serve them not only in the drone industry, but in many other aspects of the modern tech economy.
Drones themselves can be powerful tools to improve lives (as well as bringing risks both ethical and practical). However, they also drive learning. To design, build, and operate a drone, and then to make use of the data and other outputs, touches on:
OSF is looking for youth with intellectual curiosity, passion for technology, first-principle thinking, a specific idea for how to help a community, focus, past portfolio/projects/experiences, and love of sharing/teaching.
Example of Tech Skills Applicable
- Mechanical engineering, mechatronics, and aeronautical engineering
- Computer-Assisted Design (CAD)
- Small-scale manufacturing, additive manufacturing (3D printing), materials science
- Sensors and controllers
- Battery and power systems
- Embedded systems (IoT and industrial control systems), low-level control software
- High-level planning and mission control software
- Networking, wireless systems, and communication
- Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)
- Computer vision, photogrammetry, point cloud processing
- Industrial health and safety, legislative compliance, standards development (the drone industry still does not have established standards, so operators and developers must work together with regulators and local agencies to be compliant)
The project is connected to several SDGs:
- Zero Hunger – Building capacity and productivity
- Quality Education – Promoting opportunities and lifelong learning
- Gender Equality – empowering girls and women
- Decent Work and Economic Growth – creating marketable skills, new employment
- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure – incubating fellows’ ideas
- Partnerships for the Goals – enhancing regional & international cooperation