Submitted by Jonathan Porter
When MoM was conceived, the concept was always a long term sustainable one. Aircraft built by West Africans, flown by West Africans for the benefit of West Africans. To get to that state takes time, dedication and a vision beyond that normally found in this part of the world.
Working with WAASPS, the approved aircraft build and flight training school that operates flights for MoM, a specialized academy has been set up. Training girls over a four year period, covering aircraft construction methods, computer systems, production using manual and automated systems (CNC/Robotics), airfield management, first aid, aviation ground school, flying lessons, tractor driving, etc.
Each year the AvTech Academy, a not-for-profit educational establishment, based at Kpong Airfield, plans to take in 4 - 6 girls (maybe boys in the future) and to expose them to learning and working in a manner that is unique in the sub-region. Based loosely on the Modern Apprenticeship concepts of the UK and mingled with the ideals of City and Guilds/GNVQ training, the programme is exciting and stimulating. The first year's intake is 4 girls.
The aim is that these girls should become the future of MoM. By being exposed to the concept of Humanitarian Aviation Logistics and volunteer-ism, this is the first step along the long and lonely road of human capital development.
Thankfully, AvTech has more help than just WAASPS/MoM. Volunteers are helping out with some of the workshop sessions too. One of these, Paul Joosten has years of experience in Africa and is an extensive globe-trotter, and he helps out with some of the learning - and plenty of encouragements. Paul recently did a day on 'Germany' and it was great to see the interest in a foreign culture, delivered first hand by a German national who understands Africa. Paul is also an excellent photographer and took the following pictures of the recruits...
From left to right: Juliet, Lydi, Alpha Foxtrot, Emmanuella, Ciara and the instructor, Patricia.
Lydia, sporting steel capped boots, shorts and grin!
Ciara takes her pose...
Emmanuella enjoys the workshop.
Juliet reaches for the sky, but first for the wings!
Of course Paul needed his photo taken too!!!
Thank you Paul! Girls, work hard and keep up your great sense of humour and dedication to become the future MoMmers West Africa needs!