"For the Tonga people like me, there is something deeply biblical about the word MULONGA, yet it is a modern story too. One of massive but unshared technology. One of plentiful water but perpetual drought."
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mulonga.net >> IT Centers >> Stakeholders Update August 2003
Stakeholders Update August 2003
Sunday, 31 August 2003 00:00

CURRENT STATUS - The ITC continues to be extremely busy throughout the week, closing only on Sundays. There now needs to be more careful planning of courses and opportunities for general public use. Other areas of the day-to-day running of the centre are also being monitored and changes made where necessary.

TIMETABLE - With the beginning of the school holidays, more time is being made available for the general public. From Monday to Friday, training takes place from 0900-1300h, general public access from 1400-1700h, and internet connection 1700-2000h! On Saturdays, a new Saturday morning opening was advertised and fairly well attended. During the school term, teacher internet access is offered on Saturday afternoons. Computer Science teachers "Muchie" Muchineripi and "BZ" Siasweka battle with a busy and demanding schedule throughout the year, including school holidays. Much assistance is given by other members of the management committee, and BHS teachers.

PERSONNEL - With the departure of Stefan Hecke, Muchie Muchineripi has been handling hardware/technical problems for the centre and other stakeholders. BZ Siasweka manned the centre during the August school holidays, with the assistance of Theo Sianyuka and Penny Yon for training.

TRAINING - By the end of July 256 people of Binga had received Basic Introduction to Computers training, since courses commenced in May 2002. The demand for IT training continues to grow. The second "Children's Week" was held from 13-15 August with 8 children participating. This was followed by an introduction course for the general public 18-22 and the free Stakeholders Special IV is scheduled for 25-29 August with 12 participants expected from Binga and Siachilaba. Authorities and stakeholders invited for this fourth free course are members from DAs office, President’s Office, ZRP Siachilaba, Binga Hospital, Binga Primary School, Ministry of Justice & Parliamentary Affairs, Tel One, ZESA Rural Electrification Agency. Those departments who have not yet taken up this opportunity for training will be offered another chance later, since it is a continuous training programme. Two members of the ngoma buntibe group "Simonga" from Siachilaba will also participate, in preparation for the Music Workshop in September (see below).

EQUIPMENT - The mice are still problematic, and extremely difficult to use when training. One mouse was received from World Links along with 2 mousepads, and more are urgently needed. We are still awaiting news from Stefan Hecke regarding his offer to source mice and modem in Austria.

GENDER - There is a noticeable gender imbalance in training and general centre use, and in this regard, informal research is being carried out among female students and women of Binga to discover the reasons. With the addition of Ms Theo Sianyuka to the team, the research which takes the form of informal discussions with groups of young girls from BHS Guidance & Counselling department, and Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), and also individuals.

PUBLICITY - In June, contact was made with Mr Isaac Munzabwa, radio presenter for ZBC’s National FM station, which broadcasts in minority languages of Zimbabwe. Mr Munzabwa interviewed Theo Sianyuka in CiTonga on two separate occasions, which were broadcast/repeat on 16, 23, 30 July and 5 Aug. Topics covered in the interview included "BaTonga & Computers" and "Youth, Computers & Crafts". Good feedback has been received from these broadcasts, and the radio station is happy to continue with a series of interviews. On 21 August Mr Munzabwa interviewed the computer science teacher BZ Siasweka, along with a number of users at the ITC, which is due for broadcast on Tues 26 Sep at 1130h on SW 4828khz 90m. Since the telephone interviews are conducted in CiTonga, this gives older people who are non-English speaking, a chance to participate also.

AZFA VISIT - The visit of Peter Kuthan, Chairperson for AZFA, is scheduled for 16-20 September 2003. There will be meetings of the management committees at Siachilaba and Sianzyundu (17 Sep), as well as the Binga Stakeholders Seminar at Binga High School on 20 September. Invitation letters have already been sent out to all authorities; regrettably, numbers have to be limited to authorities and major stakeholders.

COMPUTER & MUSIC WORKSHOP - During the above visit, AZFA will also be facilitating a Computer & Music workshop from 17-19 September at the ITC, which includes a field recording of the group Simonga at Siachilaba. The focus of the workshop is "Tonga music as a future cultural heritage". The facilitators will be Klaus Hollinetz and Keith Goddard, who are experts in this field, and who will be travelling with Peter Kuthan from Austria and Harare respectively. Participants for this workshop include local music teachers, and one each from Siachilaba, Sianzyundu, Victoria Falls and Bulawayo, musicians from Simonga and other local artists.

FINANCES - The centre continues to sustain itself for day-to-day operations. Where free training is given in the course of the Tonga.Online project, costs are covered by Tonga.Online.

PROPOSED SATELLITE CENTRES - ZESA Rural Electrification Agency have now commenced work at Siachilaba Primary School, and funding is urgently needed to supply 25m of electric cabling from the transformer to the classroom, and other electrical needs at both Siachilaba and Sianzyundu. Sianzyundu Secondary has received some donations of ceiling boards and burglar bars. Every effort is being made to source funding for the overall refurbishment of one classroom each at these two schools. Proposals are prepared by Penny Yon, and directed appropriately by AZFA. Needs of the schools are ceilings, burglar bars, fans, plug points and wiring, paint, desks and chairs. Any assistance from Stakeholders would be welcomed.

NEEDS & SUPPORT - The participation and support of all stakeholders is extremely important to the centre, if it is to be self-sustaining and grow from strength to strength for the people of Binga. Access to computers and information has already strengthened the community, and gives them the opportunity to "catch up" with the rest of Zimbabwe in terms of technology, general education and skills for employment.

THANKS TO :

  • All authorities for continued support of the Binga ITC
  • ZESA Rural Electrification Agency for prioritizing Siachilaba
  • Arachnid Design and Dr Gary Brooking for assistance with equipment and advice
  • Muchie & BZ for their hard work!
Please continue to give this important project your good support.

 

PENNY YON /Tonga.Online
S NCUBE /Headmaster, Binga High School

25 August 2003

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