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mulonga.net >> IT Centers >> Binga High >> 3rd Binga ITC stakeholders seminar
3rd Binga ITC stakeholders seminar
Wednesday, 15 October 2003 00:00

The purpose of the 3rd Binga ITC stakeholders seminar was to review the progress of the Tonga.Online project so far, particularly its outreach and extension. The advent of computers in Binga has not only contributed to uplifting education but also provided better access to information and communication for the community at large. Two more Telecenters are in the project pipeline for Sianzyundu Secondary and Siachilaba Primary School, where electrification is around the corner.

 

REPORT ON THE BINGA ITC STAKEHOLDERS SEMINAR HELD ON SATURDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 2003 AT BINGA HIGH SCHOOL

Contents:

1 OPENING
2 PRESENTATION OF MUSIC & COMPUTER WORKSHOP
3 PRESENTATION OF EQUIPMENT TO BINGA ITC
4 PROGRESS REPORT BY TONGA.ONLINE

4.1 Vision
4.2 Management + staff
4.3 Operations and Functioning
4.4 Access
4.5 Publicity
4.6 Training

4.6.1 Stakeholders Training
4.6.2 Teachers
4.6.3 Gender groups
4.6.4 Children

4.7 Finances
4.8 Gender
4.9 Way Forward

5. STAKEHOLDER´S ASSESSMENT

5.1 AZFA
5.2 World Links
5.3 Horizont3000
5.4 District Education Office
5.5 Community Representative
5.6 Binga Craft Centre
5.7 Binga High School

6. SATELLITE CENTERS

6.1 Outline
6.2 Vision
6.3 Report on Satellite ITC progress

6.3.1 Siansundu Secondary School
6.3.2 Siachilaba Primary School

7. MULONGA WEBSITE

7.1 Vision and Background
7.2 Questionnaire Results

8. CONCLUSIONS
SEMINAR ATTENDANCE


1. OPENING - The seminar opened in the Binga Information Technology Centre ITC with welcome and introductions by the Headmaster S.Ncube and P.Yon from Kunzwana Trust. A list of those present is attached at Annex A to this report.

2. PRESENTATION OF MUSIC & COMPUTER WORKSHOP - A short presentation of the outcome of the Music & Computer workshop which had been held from 17-19 September was made by Klaus Hollinetz, Keith Goddard, and workshop participants. Certificates and a copy of the Windhund ‘Mwapona’ cassette were presented to the participants at the end of the presentation.

3. PRESENTATION OF EQUIPMENT TO BINGA ITC - Peter Kuthan, on behalf of Austria-Zimbabwe Friendship Association and the group Windhund, presented the following equipment to the Binga ITC and High School, which was gratefully received by the Headmaster : Canon Laser Printer, PC/monitor, Stereo Hifi amplifier, CD writer, CDs, cables and toner cartridges.
A Sony minidisk recorder was presented to the ITC by Peter Kuthan on behalf of Otto Lechner and the group Windhund who visited the school last year.

4. PROGRESS REPORT BY TONGA.ONLINE - A Progress Report was made by P Yon on behalf of the Binga ITC and Tonga.Online team, from which the following was noted:

4.1 Vision - The vision to offer people of Binga the opportunity to become computer literate and enjoy all that it has to offer in terms of education, information and communication, is now being realised here in Binga. Within the short 18 months since opening, people from all walks of life have come forward for training, and have eagerly embraced information technology. Regular users of the centre today include fishing co-operatives, small businesses, NGOs and other government departments. Individuals who use the centre range from the Cuban doctors at Binga Hospital, to young adults of the community, children from the immediate neighbourhood and further, and even the occasional tourist in Binga.
In 2003, for the first time in the history of the growth point and the school, Computer Science has been offered at O Level at Binga High School. The Form 3’s are the first to enjoy this great opportunity, which will undoubtedly have a positive influence on the rest of their lives. Now, when an ex-student of Binga High emerges to national university or employment, they can be expected to be on the same level as others of their age and position. A lucrative crafts market is developing through contacts by Internet and communications by email, and links are being forged between schools in the District and other parts of the world.
All this is already the framework of the original vision for the Tonga.Online project.

4.2 Management + staff - The ITC is under the supervision of Head of the Computer Science Department, Mr Stanford Muchineripi, ably assisted by Mr Blessmore Siasweka who joined the school in January 2003. The Tonga.Online team is comprised of Penny Yon, also ably assisted by Ms Theophorah Sianyuka who joined the project on 1 June 2003, as an administrative assistant. Mr Sengamo Ndlovu, the teacher who originally received the computers into the school and was actively involved in the set-up of the ITC, is still an important part of the team, although his teaching duties occupy much of his time. The two Ministry of Education teachers and the Tonga.Online project team report to the Management Committee, which is chaired by Senior Master V Nyathi and comprises others senior members of the teaching staff, including the Headmaster and Deputy Head. Since many parents involved in the school SDA are not residents of Binga, the committee has evolved to members of the school teaching staff only.
Sadly, Mr Stefan Hecke, who was sponsored by Horizont3000 completed his contract and left Zimbabwe at the end of June 2003. Although originally targeted for his web design expertise, Stefan Hecke was mainly occupied with technical support and training, since it became obvious that the concept of designing websites was a little too advanced for Binga ITC at the time. Stefan’s work at the ITC and amongst the community was of great value to the project, it is hoped that we can look forward to continued support from Horizont3000 in the future. However Stefan’s leaving also offered us the opportunity to assess our self-reliance. So far, hardware and technical problems have been easily handled by the two computer science teachers.

4.3 Operations and Functioning - Since the beginning, the Binga ITC has been opening for the school and community 6 days a week, and 12 hours daily from Monday to Friday. This has been necessary to accommodate school classes, teachers and the general public, for whom the timetable is appropriately designed. During the school term, classes take up most of the daily timetable, with public access and internet connection offered in the evenings from 5-8pm and sometimes later. During school holidays, more attention is paid to public training and offering introduction training to Stakeholders of Binga ITC including local authorities and government departments. This time is also used to focus on particular target groups, e.g. women, children and artists.
The timetable of the ITC is periodically examined to assess whether or not it is meeting the needs of the people, and as a result a new Saturday morning opening was introduced from July, to encourage working people and women with children to participate. When requested, a special Stakeholders course has been carried out over a weekend, and we are due to train some members of MYDGEC over 2 weekends Sep/Oct. The Team (i.e. the 2 computer science teachers and Tonga.Online team) meet at least monthly to discuss troubleshooting and fine-tuning of the systems in place.
Services offered by the ITC are training courses, computer use, internet connection, graphic design, typing, scanning and printing services. Some small income is also received from telephone use, although this is not encouraged. On one occasion, a translation and typing service was requested by and given to a local company. All services are very cheaply priced, and the cost of a 20-hour introduction to computers course equates to about 3 scuds of Chibuku (local beer). When we pointed this out to some patrons of a local beer outlet, they soon agreed to sign up for courses!
The centre is staffed by HOD Stanford Muchineripi and Blessmore Siasweka throughout the week, with assistance by P. Yon and T. Sianyuka on Saturdays, and for particular training groups and in the holidays. The two teachers work constantly in the public eye and under considerable pressure, juggling school and public needs.
Security is maintained overnight by two guards who alternate, however the need for uniforms and higher wages has been identified as an urgent one. As part of the access route to the shopping centre, the problem of fencing the area is great, however quotations are being sought for fencing of the immediate area – say 5m around the centre. For the management committee, there is a renewed awareness of security needs as the centre grows, new equipment is received, and publicity reaches more people.

4.4 Access - The timetable attempts to offer access to all people, but it must be stressed that the demands are increasing all the time. For the public, school term access is restricted to after hours and evening hours, which precludes women with small children or those who live at any distance away from the school. The new Saturday morning opening was designed with this problem in mind, however Monday-to-Friday workers also need the centre open on Saturday mornings, and it is therefore well attended by the general community, if not altogether full with children paying for computer games. Monday-to-Saturday morning workers need the centre open over the entire weekend. The school needs the centre first thing Monday morning through Friday afternoon, and there is hardly any time for cleaning.

4.5 Publicity - In the last year, publicity has been achieved through regular Stakeholder Update newsletters sent to all authorities and other Stakeholders by hand, post and email, and attractive posters placed in strategic places around Binga such as the Post Office, Hospital, Spar supermarket, Stambolie’s supermarket, Gordon’s video/photocopying shop, Siachimbo’s phone shop and Binga Community Library. The posters, which are designed on the computer, are also sent by email to local NGOs and other Binga emails, with a request to print and display in their workplaces. Posters advertise services offered at the ITC, holiday timetables, special openings, closing dates etc., to keep the public informed.
Tonga.On Air: Since Theo Sianyuka joined the team there has been some very good publicity through National Radio (Radio 4), on presenter Isaac Munzabwa’s weekly youth programme. Interviews are pre-recorded and conducted over the telephone in CiTonga. The first two were entitled "Computers and Youth" and "Youth, Crafts & Computers", and given entirely by Theo Sianyuka. These two were each broadcast twice over 4 weeks, and the third interview was done by Theo together with Computer Science teacher Blessmore Siasweka, and 5 regular users of the centre. Mr Munzabwa is extremely supportive of the project, and a series of interviews have therefore been planned. Since the language used is CiTonga, older, non-English speaking people also have the opportunity to speak.
As in any small community, word-of mouth is always a powerful means of advertising, and the team are always talking to people and encouraging them to participate; however a bad reputation spreads just as easily and standards must remain high and good value for money.
A major publicity campaign is planned for the installation of electricity at Siachilaba Primary school and opening of the satellite centres at Siachilaba and Sianzyundu, which will change so many lives and indeed be a cause for big celebrations and a local Ngoma Buntibe festival in 2004.

4.6 Training - Statistics are gathered from Registration forms of all who are trained, and compiled by Tonga.Online. From these it is noted that in the period May 02 to Aug 03:

  • A total of 293 people of Binga received training
  • Highest registrations were in the months of Nov, Apr and Aug – schools holiday times
  • Dec was slower because of the Christmas holidays and shutdown period
  • 25 children between the ages of 6-12 trained
  • 4 people between the ages 51-60 received training

 

4.6.1 Stakeholders Training - We have been honoured to welcome many local authorities to the training programme through Stakeholder Special free introduction to computer courses. Among these we had the pleasure of training the District Administrator and two other members of his staff, and members from the President’s Office, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Binga District Education Office, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Public Construction, Tel One and Binga Hospital. There have been four Stakeholder Specials so far, and the programme is continuing.

4.6.2 Teachers – As well as Binga High School teachers who eagerly embrace IT and all it’s benefits, training has also been provided for teachers of Binga Primary, Manjolo Secondary, Siachilaba Primary, Siansundu Secondary, Siansundu Primary, Samende, and Sebungwe. Affiliations were offered to local schools in the surrounding area, at a very low affiliation fee, however the offer has not been taken up formally yet. Long distances and the lack of public or any transport is cited as the main reason for the disappointing response. However, it is hoped it will improve as many students from surrounding schools attend the ITC during the holidays.

4.6.3 Gender groups – Working with the Campaign for Female Education CAFED which is very active in Binga, we have twice conducted training for Binga High A Level girl students. The first of these courses included, besides introductory training, some instruction on office practices and modern office equipment, telephone etiquette and grooming & behaviour in the workplace.

4.6.4 Children – During April and August school holidays, a Children’s Week was held to capture the interest of primary school users. The week included Introduction to the computer, and development of basic skills, and of course games. An interesting point is that some of the children from the first holiday returned in the second, and by this time they were well advanced, and demanding more! Children are those from the local suburbs at Binga High, Govera and as far as Back Harbour and Hwange (home to Binga for the holidays). Many children flock to the centre during the term and holidays for computer games, which are very popular with all age groups and very cheap. The cost of one hours’ ‘computer time’ is Z$100 – a quarter of the price of a soft drink. Many parents are happy to provide money for the ITC.

4.7 Finances - Income is derived from training courses, computer use, internet connection, graphic design, typing, scanning and printing services, and telephone use. Monies are receipted by the ITC and handed over to the school SDA bursar daily. A draft Constitution is currently awaiting approval by the management committee, in order to open a separate banking account. All payments and expenditures are authorised by the Chairman / Headmaster.
Monthly accounts are produced by the HOD S Muchineripi and Mr B Ncube, head of the Accounts Department at the school. From the summary of income and expenditure provided by them for the seminar, it was noted that :

  • the average monthly net profit of the ITC for the period Jan-Aug 2003 was Z$35103.
  • the highest income generator is Training.
  • the highest expense is telephone for internet.

 

4.8 Gender - Since Theo Sianyuka joined the Tonga.Online team, there has been better opportunity to address gender issues related to IT education. From training statistics it is clear that there has been a slow but steady decline in the number of girls and women undertaking training at the centre, and a number of means have been employed to discover the reasons.
General research is an ongoing exercise, which ties in closely with public relations and customer care. Casual interviews are conducted in the course of general word-of-mouth publicity, and focus group discussions with two groups of 11 and 14 female A level students arranged through Campaign for Female Education and the schools Guidance & Counselling teacher, were held in August.
The results of the interviews have been quite revealing, and quickly enable us to deal with problems at the correct source. While many young women in the school are aware of their need for IT education, they are undoubtedly intimidated by men and boys generally and have not yet learned to take their rightful place in life. A very special and diplomatic programme of training is planned for this third term of 2003, to accommodate these young girls.

4.9 Way Forward - The way forward for the Tonga.Online team on the ground in Binga is to keep going at what we are doing already, and having learned from this short history of the Binga ITC, to work tirelessly to assist the set up of the satellite centres at Sianzyundu and Siachilaba. We have seen what a difference IT can make in people’s lives and workplaces, and we are all aware of our need for it. We have enjoyed the goodwill and support of all authorities and stakeholders in Binga, and depend upon it to help secure and maximise the great opportunity given to the people of Binga, Siansundu and Siachilaba.

5. STAKEHOLDER´S ASSESSMENT

5.1 AZFA – Peter Kuthan noted that the foregoing presentation reflected the great progress made, and congratulated all members of the committee and team for their work. He stressed that the project should continue to offer access for all groups, regardless of age, gender, race, political affiliation or religion.

5.2 World Links – Justin Mupinda gave an overview of World Links activities which aim for Learning, Integration, Networking and Knowledge Sharing. World Links would explore the possibilities of setting up an IT-related Gender workshop, and offered to assist the school towards having it’s own website, which was very important.

5.3 Horizont3000 – Johann Atzinger shared the aims and objectives of his organisation, which were to assist in implementing new developments of local communities and institutions. He was pleased to note that the computer equipment was in good order, but stressed that it should not remain stagnant. While the setup of ITC´s at Siachilaba and Sianzyundu would now offer the same opportunities as Binga, Bulawayo and Harare, the vision should also be extended. The establishment of Binga ITC as a centre of excellence was feasible and should concentrate on needs for the Zimbabwe of the future. On behalf of Horizont3000 he offered to conduct an Impact Assessment of the project to date. He also confirmed the continued support of H3000 in terms of technical personnel where necessary and possible.

5.4 District Education Office – Mr C Ngwenya thanked all those present for the opportunities being offered in Binga, and detailed his personal experience and benefits of training from the ITC. He noted that with the new age of computer literacy, methods of teaching must change to keep abreast with other countries, and hoped the spirit of co-operation would continue until computer literacy reaches each child.

5.5 Community Representative – Mrs Shylet Siachimbo, owner of the S&S Siachimbo Dried Kapenta and Phone Shop thanked the school and project for the training facilities available, which were necessary for her phone shop business which is computer-based. Both she and her husband had received training at the ITC, and also all their children.

5.6 Binga Craft Centre – Mrs Margaret Nyathi thanked the Austria-Zimbabwe Friendship Association for their support of Binga businesses, and detailed the business links forged between Binga CC and the Auhof Basket Company in Austria, which had produced much business already. The Binga CC also has a website through which much trade is done, and which is linked with the project website. The Craft Centre is also using the Binga ITC when facing technical problems, and received much assistance from Stefan Hecke.

5.7 Binga High School – Mr V Nyathi, Senior Master and chairperson of the ITC management committee noted that the committee has tried to ensure that the centre is functioning well. One of the challenges of the committee is to ensure that the centre generates as much funds as possible to work towards self-sufficiency, particularly with the set up of the satellite centres at Siachilaba and Sianzyundu, to which more of the Tonga.Online energies and resources should be diverted.
Mr Nyathi said that the ITC had come to Binga High School at a time when the need was pressing, with the expansion and development of the school. Among other benefits enjoyed by the teachers, the following was noted:

  • teaching material easily accessed through the Internet
  • literature which is too expensive to purchase is downloaded at a fraction of the cost
  • examination and test papers are now produced directly by teachers whereas previously outside typists had to be specially employed
  • more than ten teachers are currently undertaking further studies through ZOU etc
  • travel costs to Byo of about $30 000 eliminated as assignments are now submitted by email

 

6. SATELLITE CENTERS

6.1 Outline - Chief Siachilaba gave a short outline of the background of the project which started with the involvement of Keith Goddard and Peter Kuthan with the group Simonga in Siachilaba, who eventually travelled to Austria in 1997, after identification documents, birth certificates, and passports were arranged by him. He applauded the progress made and confirmed his continued support of the project at Siachilaba and Sianzyundu.

6.2 Vision - The vision for the satellite centres at Siachilaba and Sianzyundu, is to quickly set up and equip the classrooms to receive the donated computers which are already standing by in Austria, to install and network, commence a training campaign in the school and community, and teach people to access information and markets through the internet for the betterment of their lives.
Some parts of this vision have been realised to date, the main reason for celebration being the installation of electricity at Siachilaba. The ZESA Rural Electrification Agency has already begun work at the school and Chief Siachilaba’s homestead. Their progress has been hampered and delayed by lack of fuel to transport materials from Harare and Bulawayo. Work now continues as quickly as possible whenever fuel is available.
Proposals and applications for funding to refurbish/furnish one classroom at each school are made to prospective donors and these are written by PYon and directed appropriately by Peter Kuthan and Keith Goddard. So far around 11 organisations have been approached in Zimbabwe and outside. The search for funding is continuous.

6.3 Report on Satellite ITC progress – On behalf of the Siachilaba Primary and Siansundu Secondary schools, P Yon gave the following progress report

6.3.1 Siansundu Secondary School

  • Management Committee in place and active, broad based including members of the local business community, government ministries including Health & Child Welfare and Agriculture (Arex), and local Village Head.
  • Refurbishment underway, and already installed electricity, 10 plug points, burglar bars, stools. Still need extra ceiling boards, asbestos roof sheet replacement, ceiling security, fans, tables, paint, chemical for treatment of trusses against termites. AZFA have now offered support of chemicals, materials for burglar bars/ceiling security and tables.
  • Telephone lines still down after many months, and no time frame known for repairs which are of a major nature; second telephone line to be applied for nevertheless.
  • Computer levy introduced of $50 per child and money used to carry out above work.

 

6.3.2 Siachilaba Primary School

  • Electrification – in progress but hampered by fuel problems. AZFA supporting cost of initial cabling from main line to computer classroom.
  • Management Committee reactivated and meeting regularly.
  • Extra telephone line applied for but parts not available from Tel One at present. Existing school line in good working order.
  • Refurbishment – with the assistance of donation of funds from the Educational Transformation and Reform Programme (ETRP), repair of the selected classroom will commence as soon as possible, including repair of windows, door, ceiling, burglar bars. AZFA have now offered support in terms of materials for burglar bars (cage) and tables, chemicals for trusses.
  • Fans, curtains and covers still to be sourced by the committee.
  • Equipment – The school had received a donation of battery-operated Alpha Smart keyboards from World Links, which hold some considerable memory, are portable and compatible with computers and printers for transfer of information. Ten keyboards were pledged and two delivered to Siachilaba Primary School A/Headmaster on 17 September.
  • Donations - $73 334 received from the school, community, Kunzwana Trust and other well- wishers, now urgently needs to be spent in an attempt to beat inflation.
  • Calendar Royalties – Royalties of E400 from a photograph taken by Windhund musician Melissa Coleman of four Siachilaba women and published in an Austrian NGO calendar, had been donated by Ms Coleman to the Siachilaba ITC through AZFA.

 

7. MULONGA WEBSITE

7.1 Vision and Background - Peter Kuthan reported on the project website www.mulonga.net, which he said was a crucial tool for the community to link this project with Austria and the world wide web. It started as a means of presenting results of various cultural exchange programmes between the Tonga and Austria, and designed not only for cultural exchange, but so that Tonga people could also have access to and a voice on the Internet. The website is a bridge between friends in Austria and development on the ground; a good tool of communication and to expose the project abroad. It has won a number of awards and prizes, which contribute to the financial support of the project.

7.2 Questionnaire Results - The original approach to the website was artistic, but now under review in order to redesign and make it more practical and friendly for Binga users. From a questionnaire published on the website, much feedback has been received, summarised and the website redesigned by Stefan Kuthan. From the Binga side, this was a welcome move making the website clearer and easier to navigate, giving quicker access to needed information in an area where connectivity is often poor. Now more local content is possible, which is needed to raise attention and support. All parties were encouraged to make a larger and stronger contribution to the website.

8. CONCLUSIONS The seminar concluded with a summary of the overall progress by Headmaster S Ncube, as presented in the seminar. He thanked Peter Kuthan and all stakeholders for their assessment, contributions and support for this important development in Binga.

SEMINAR ATTENDANCE

  1. Mujimba Siachilaba Chief Siachilaba
  2. Similo Ncube Headmaster Binga High School
  3. Peter Kuthan Chairman Austria-Zimbabwe-Friendship Association
  4. Keith Goddard Trustee Kunzwana Trust, Harare
  5. Justin Mupinda National Coord World Links for Development, Harare
  6. Wonder Chikohomero Technical Officer World Links for Development, Harare
  7. Margaret Nyathi Coordinator Binga Craft Centre
  8. Patrick Mweemba Art Consultant Choma Museum & Crafts Centre, Zambia
  9. Johann Atzinger Programme Director Horizont3000, Harare
  10. Vusumuzi Nyati Chairman Binga ITC / Binga High School
  11. Brian MacGarry Member Basilwizi Trust, Harare
  12. Thompson Dube Accountant District Administrator’s Office, Binga
  13. Phenias Munsaka Comm Rel Officer Zimbabwe Republic Police, Binga
  14. Mzanywa Nyathi Headmaster Binga Primary School
  15. Misheck Nyoni Technician I.C. ZESA, Binga
  16. Dick Mudenda Exec Off Admin Binga Rural District Council
  17. Cephas Ngwenya Education Officer Binga District Education Office
  18. Mr Zibotshwa Officer Office of the President , Binga
  19. Servious Siachimbo Director S&S Phone and Kapenta Shop, Binga
  20. Shylet Siachimbo Businesswoman S&S Phone and Kapenta Shop
  21. Stanford Muchineripi HOD Comp Science Binga ITC / Binga High School
  22. Joseph Kanhai Teacher Binga High School
  23. Phillip Saba Teacher Binga High School
  24. Lackson Chuma Teacher I.C./Chair Siansundu ITC
  25. Gwaringa Dube W/Shop participant Siansundu Secondary School
  26. Cletus Sibanda W/Shop participant Siansundu Primary School
  27. Burma Tshuma W/Shop participant United College of Education, Bulawayo
  28. Phinias Mudimba W/Shop participant Binga Primary School
  29. Polina Munkuli W/Shop participant Simonga, Siachilaba
  30. Kelias Mwinde W/Shop participant Siachilaba Primary School
  31. Sialwindi J Munkuli W/Shop participant Simonga leader, Siachilaba
  32. Ruth Mpofu W/Shop participant Mosi oa Tunya High School, Victoria Falls
  33. Penny Yon Consultant Tonga.Online Project, Binga

 

Kunzwana Trust
TONGA.ONLINE PROJECT - www.mulonga.net
c/o Binga High School, P Bag 5722, Binga
Tel 015-573
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