"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."
Dominic Muntanga
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mulonga.net >> IT Centers >> Stakeholders Update Jannuary 2006
Stakeholders Update Jannuary 2006
Monday, 30 January 2006 00:00

 Twamutambula (we welcome you). Twawidwa chinikozi muBinga (we have been blessed). The season is promising food security in the district although not everyone will have enough. Some areas are affected by water logging due to continous rains. Elephants and other field hazards are already threatening.

Tonga.online project has been added in number of staff and strength with Miss Emelda Munkombwe, an IT student who is based at Siachilaba as trainee trainer covering for Ms Theophorah Sianyuka who has crossed the lake to work with the project extension in Zambia. Clement Mungombe has extended his attachment to Syanzyundu ITC, Sengamo Ndlovu continues on part time with Twiimbilane studio and David Mungombe is coordinating from Binga office. The expansion is tackling the still existing gender imbalance of the team, with two female and three male staff now, calling for more women advancement in 2006.

Stakeholders are supportive and looking forward to improved internet services, establishment of other proposed centers in the district and upgrading of technical infrastructure.

Binga ITC: The IT teacher Mr S Muchineripi who had gone for further college education is back to work with Binga High, rejoining BZ Siasweka in running the center. The school has set a computer levy for all students forms one to six, and a new timetable has been drawn that caters for computer science, training courses for students and the public. Fees and services provided at the center have been advertised including that of the revived internet access that will be available to all from 30 January onwards. Internet connectivity is still poor though because of the unstable network with TelOne services. All the neccesary documents for the incoming IT technician Uwe Allgäuer have been jointly processed with H3000, Binga High School and tonga.online project.

Siachilaba ITC: The trainers Theo and Emelda did the handover / take over that was witnessed and approved by the school. The new trainer was introduced to the members of the management committee, Simonga and Chief Siachilaba. The school has worked with the trainer in drawing a computer timetable for pupils and the public and has set and advertised new fees for services. Three community men have started the basic computer-training course with women encouraged to follow.

There are plans for an outreach training with Alpha Smart in feeder schools with the assistance of trained teachers from the schools. The plan targets the grade sevens who might meet questions on computers in their exams, and preparing them for the computer science subject at secondary school level next year.

Syanzyundu ITC: Syanzyundu Secondary School has not received an IT teacher for the introduction of a computer science subject, which is a basic requirement by all students of today's computer world. The request still stands with the Ministry of Education. The headmaster is also following up on the center's printer that was taken by the regional office last August for a minor repair. The Ward Development Coordinator and the Ward Councilor have expressed the delay as a serious disadvantage to the school and the community who have learnt, enjoyed and relied on the technology. It is still not known when the area will have working telephone lines to enable the center to provide internet services. The trainer has advertised all services possible and community mobilization for training is in progress.

Twiimbilane Studio: Progress at the studio is that of increased visits by artists from around the district seeking advice or recording their music. There are some local artists working towards producing their albums for marketing. The studio is also reproducing Simonga Ngoma Buntibe music onto cassettes for the immediate market. We have also sent a sample of our music recordings and a short proposal for support to ZTV through a visiting department officer Ms Musa Mpangeri. We hope this will cultivate some interest at the department to screen some of our musicians for publicity and foster their involvement in national music galas and competitions.

Simonga Cultural Group: The group has reproduced and advertised their Ngoma Buntibe music on CD and cassettes, an activity that was supported by the Zimbabwe Culture Fund last year with nine million dollars. Forty CDs and fifteen cassettes are available for $500 000 per CD and $180 000 per cassette. As tonga.online staff continues to support the group in order to reach sustainable levels of income generation, Simonga is getting empowered and the wider community is aware of the importance and benefits of maximizing art/skill use for development.

Tonga.online extension: Ziliikuchitika, it's happening in Sinazongwe across the river. Computers arrived in Lusaka last December and are stored with a partner organization, the Community Youth Concern CYC. The team has since broken into their work playing numbers, with Theo crossing to score with the operation of Sinazongwe ITC in Zambia. She was met in Namafulo, the Zambian lakeshore in Mweemba area and driven to Sinazongwe by Mr S S Miyanda, a member of the ITC management committee who is still accommodating her today. Theo has been introduced to the DC and other authorities and meeting with project partners with the assistance of Miyanda. She has helped to organise transportation of computers from Lusaka to the center jointly with Chief Sinazongwe and partners, a kapenta business man Mr B Moulders and Mrs Heather Chalcraft. Gary Brooking of Arachnid Design and Uwe Allgaeuer, an IT technician deployed by Horizont3000 are expected to follow up for installation, networking and initial training.

Conclusion: The project is facing a lot of expectations from the Binga community in terms of extension and sustainability. Established centers are short of materials like cartridges, bond paper etc that are very expensive. Therefore maintenance of ITC's is a challenge until they generate enough income for self reliance. Pashu Secondary School that met all preparations for the establishment of an ITC last year following their application for support. Binga Primary School and the Binga Education Office have this year followed up with Tonga.Online office on the possibility of support with computers.

We hope that all partners and stakeholders will stay with us and add most valuable support. We invite donors and sponsors to make the Binga year 2006 the most successful and beneficial to the community, with more active ITCs and respective capacity development programmes.

David Mungombe
Coordinator-tonga.online project
c/o Binga High School, P Bag 5722, Binga,
Tel / fax: ++263-15-573
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it www.mulonga.net
Seconded by the Headmaster - Binga High School