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Registration Open! Drones in Humanitarian Action - Online Training

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May 1st, 2018


We recently launched our WeRobotics Online Training Academy and are pleased to announce that registration is now open for our first training on Drones in Humanitarian Action. We received well over 400 sign-up's within a dozen days of announcing the course, so we're thrilled to have such strong interest in our upcoming training. If you were one of those sign-up's, please scroll down to then end of this post and click on the registration link to secure your spot. As noted in our initial announcement, the online training is based on years of professional trainings we've given to staff across many organizations including the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN/OCHA), World Food Program (WFP), International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN Development Program (UNDP), UNICEF, Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), local universities and many national & local stakeholders including National Disaster Management Organizations in Peru, Myanmar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Dominican Republic, Maldives, Fiji, Seychelles and beyond.

Trainers and Expertise

Our online training on Drones in Humanitarian Action was prepared by the AidRobotics Team at WeRobotics. The team—Joel Kaiser, Dr. Patrick Meier and Dr. Andrew Schroeder—brings together over 40 years of experience in humanitarian aid, complex emergencies and humanitarian technologies.

Joel Kaiser: Over 15 years of field experience in humanitarian assistance and disaster response in over a dozen countries and including 4 years pioneering the humanitarian use of drones. Joel has extensive experience in humanitarian coordination, and advanced studies in emergency management. Prior to WeRobotics, Joel worked as an emergency response specialist with several different humanitarian agencies including the Canadian Red Cross, Food for the Hungry and Medair. Has led disaster response teams in many humanitarian crises including Haiti, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Somalia, Iraq and Syria. Since 2013 these responses have involved the use of drones to improve operational decision-making. Holds an MA in International Development with a focus on Complex Emergencies from Simon Fraser University. Was one of the lead experts running the recent humanitarian drones workshop in Malawi with UNICEF and earlier with WFP in Myanmar. Joel is on the core team of the Humanitarian UAV Network (UAViators) and has played a key role in developing the International Humanitarian UAV Code of Conduct.

Dr. Patrick Meier: Over 15 years of experience in humanitarian technology. Spearheaded the coordination of drones in the aftermath of Category 5 Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu and the 8.0 Earthquake in Nepal. Co-directed the WeRobotics workshops on humanitarian drones for UNICEF in Malawi and for WFP in Peru, Myanmar and the DR. Coordinated and evaluated cargo drone field tests in Peru and the DR. Spearheaded the Open AI Challenge with the World Bank to use AI for the automated analysis of aerial imagery and previously directed applied research on related projects including a year-long study for the Red Cross on the use of drones for disaster risk management. Served as long-time consultant to the World Bank’s UAVs for Resilience Program. Founded the Humanitarian UAV Network (UAViators) and previously developed & provided hands-on professional trainings on humanitarian drone missions to a wide range of humanitarian professionals. Also co-authored the most comprehensive report on Drones in Humanitarian Action and played a key role developing the first humanitarian drone trainings and the International Humanitarian UAV Code of Conduct. Received advanced degrees in International Affairs from The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Authored the book, Digital Humanitarians, which has been praised by experts from the UN, Red Cross, World Bank, USAID, DfID, Harvard, MIT, Oxford and more.

Dr. Andrew Schroeder: Over 10 years of experience in humanitarian and public health emergencies, logistics and disaster response, with extensive expertise in data-analytics, geospatial data and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Internationally recognized leader in GIS, data science and applied epidemiology for humanitarian aid and global health. Directly engaged in relief efforts following numerous disasters including Cyclone Nargis (Myanmar), Haiti Earthquake, Japan Earthquake/Tsunami, Typhoon Haiyan (Philippines), Ebola Outbreak (Sierra Leone and Liberia), Nepal Earthquake, Hurricanes Matthew, Maria, Irma and Havey (Caribbean) and Wildfires (California). Founded the Nethope’s UAV Working Group. Co-directed the WeRobotics workshops on humanitarian drone for WFP and co-directed UNDP drones for disaster resilience project in the Maldives. On the core team of the Humanitarian UAV Network (UAViators) and previously provided hands-on professional trainings on humanitarian drone missions to a wide range of humanitarian professionals. Played a key role in developing of the International Humanitarian UAV Code of Conduct. Received advanced degrees in social analysis and public policy from New York University and the University of Michigan.

Overview of Humanitarian Drone Training

The 7-week training comprises 7 key modules, which cover the following important topics:

  • Drone Technologies and Mission Planning
  • Mapping Drones and Information Products
  • Cargo Drones and New Solutions
  • Humanitarian Principles and Codes of Conduct
  • Survey of Drone Deployments in Humanitarian Aid
  • Humanitarian Drone Missions: Lessons Learned & Best Practices
  • Drones in Humanitarian Action: Localization and Coordination
  • Aerial Data Interpretation and Analysis
  • Future Trends in Drone Technologies and Applications

The online training will also include a dedicated module on Technical Basics of Drone Pilot Certification, which will cover the following topics:

  • Rules of the Air
  • Safety
  • Airspace
  • Flight Permissions
  • Basic Chart Reading
  • Meteorology
  • Aircraft Knowledge
  • Airmanship

Course Details & How To Register

The training starts June 11th and ends July 27th. This is a self-paced course, which means you decide when to follow the instructional videos and recommended readings. Each module will include a quiz to evaluate your understanding of the material. A dedicated discussion forum will be available for more in-depth discussions regarding the content provided through the videos and readings. The 7th and final module will comprise a live Q&A session with the course instructors and a dedicated discussion forum to review all the material covered throughout the course. Participants who successfully complete the training and pass the module quizzes will receive a certificate of completion. We plan to offer this course again in September/October 2018 and are also preparing a course on Cargo Drones.

The fee for the 7-week training is $300/participant. As this is our inaugural online course, we're celebrating the occasion by giving everyone a 30% discount, thus reducing the fee to $200/participant (less than $30/module). To register, please follow this link and be sure to complete your registration by June 1st at the latest. Scholarships are available for select participants, particularly women from developing countries. In addition, 50% discounts are available for participants from non-OECD countries. If you'd like to be considered one of the scholarships or the discount, please do not register using the link above and instead complete this form by May 25th. Successful scholarship and discount applicants will be contacted by May 30th.

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