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Swoop Aero awarded USD$1.5m USAID DIV funding to scale Malawi operations

MELBOURNE, Australia — Swoop Aero has successfully secured USD$1.5 million in funding from USAID Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) to scale existing drone operations in Malawi nationally and enable publication of the world’s first randomised controlled trial (RCT) assessment of a national integrated drone network to showcase the value, scale and impact of integrated drone logistics within the public health supply chain.

The USAID DIV funding will expedite the projected scaling up of Swoop Aero’s existing drone logistics network, which currently operates across the districts of Nsanje, Chikwawa and Mangochi in line with Malawi’s Ministry of Health and Population Strategic Priorities. The network expansion will propel Swoop Aero’s operations to a national scale, spanning hard-to-reach health facilities throughout the country to improve the accessibility, availability, and quality of routine and emergency health supplies. Over the next 18 months, the program will grow to serve 140 health facilities across Malawi.

Swoop Aero has successfully sustained operations in Malawi for 3 years, working with some of the largest players in global health, including UNICEF, UKAID, USAID, UPS and VillageReach to improve the availability and accessibility of essential healthcare.

The USAID DIV award reinforces Swoop Aero’s world-class reputation in the drone logistics industry. The DIV program is a highly selective process, with more than 1,000 applications submitted each year. USAID estimates that only 10–20 of 1,000 applicants (1–2%) receive DIV funding after the complete evaluation process. Swoop Aero’s success in the USAID DIV process demonstrates the exemplary operational record of Swoop Aero in yielding long-term, scalable impact within the Malawian health supply chain and globally. The securing of USAID DIV funding also coincides with the anticipated scale-up of Swoop Aero’s operations in DR Congo, Mozambique, Australia, and Namibia, all expected to extend their reach over the coming months.

“Swoop Aero’s success in the USAID DIV funding process is a testament to the sophistication and operational record of the complete Swoop Aero technology-based platform. We have proven that Swoop Aero is a world leader in drone logistics, and is recognised as such by some of the most significant players in the global health sector, including USAID. We are thrilled to drive forward this partnership with USAID, VillageReach and the Ministry of Health and Population to strengthen the national health supply chain, “ said Eric Peck, CEO of Swoop Aero.

As part of Stage 2 of the USAID DIV funding program, Swoop Aero will demonstrate the commercial and long-term economic viability of drone logistics to sustain and scale value and impact within each phase of the supply chain. The successful execution of Swoop Aero’s sustainability roadmap will serve as a blueprint for other drone operators to sustain, scale and replicate operations worldwide to generate long-term and sustainable impact within all environments. The publication of this sustainability roadmap will be a first for the global drone industry and mark a new approach to long-term, impact-driven activities in the international development sector.

“Malawi continues to be a trailblazer in the use of drones for medical deliveries. We are very excited about VillageReach’s role working with the Malawi Ministry of Health, Malawi’s Department of Civil Aviation, Swoop Aero, UPS, Focusing Philanthropy and other partners in the nationwide network to revolutionize drones for health service delivery and to extend the solution to more hard-to-reach areas in Malawi. This is also critical for ensuring evidence generation, creating new partnerships and stakeholder buy in. The USAID DIV funding will allow for the first randomized control trial of drones transport to be jointly managed by evaluators at VillageReach and IDinsight. It will also help strengthen the national partnerships and the health care system in Malawi,” said Dr. Alinafe Kasiya, Country Director, VillageReach.

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