"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 >> Binga High >> 2nd Binga ITC stakeholders seminar
2nd Binga ITC stakeholders seminar
Wednesday, 20 February 2002 00:00
Agenda
  1. Welcome and Introductions
  2. Assessment of progress and exchange of experiences
  3. Services provided and potential services
  4. Problems and constraints faced by the Tonga online project
  5. Way forward
  6. Management and maintenance committee

Present

Similo Ncube (Mr) Head - Binga High School
Sengamo Ndlovu (Mr) Teacher currently in charge of the I.T.C - Binga High School
Fanwell Mambizvo Lake Navigation Control - BingaBinga High School S.D.A Executive
Harrison Hungwe (Rev.) B.M.F Churches Binga
Mzanywa Nyathi (Mr) Head - Binga Primary School
Peter Kuthan (Mr) Chairman - AZFA
Hedi Kuthan (Mrs) Auhof Basket Company (Linz - Austria)
Keith Goddard (Mr) Kunzwana Trust
Jabulani Chirinda (Mr) Mpopoma WorLD I.C.T Centre
Joan Ncube (Mrs) Head - Msenampongo Primary School
Josephine Nhliziyo (Mrs) Head - Siachilaba Primary School
Albert Mwembe (Mr) Chairman - Siachilaba S.D.C
Sialwindi. J. Munkuli (Mr) Group Leader - Simonga (Siachilaba)
Pauline Munkuli (ms) Simonga Group
Margaret Nyathi (Mrs) Binga Craft Centre
David Mungombe(Mr) Ntengwe For Community Development
Joe W.P. Munkuli (Mr) Local Dist. Zanu. P.F

The seminar started with welcoming remarks by the head of the school (Mr Ncube) who indicated that there was another meeting of some local stakeholders with the District Administrator, hence the lower than expected turnout for the seminar. Introductions and registration of those present followed after which potential stakeholders who could have attended were noted down. This covered all the business organisations, N.G.O«s, government organisations and schools within and around the centre in Binga area.

1. Assessment of Progress and exchange of experiences

It was indicated that the co-operation between the Austria Zimbabwe Friendship Association (AZFA), Kunzwana Trust and many other stakeholders including Binga High School students, staff and School Development Association / S.D.A had made it possible for the project Tonga-online to became a reality in a very short period of time from its inception as just an idea. The aim of the project was cited as being to promote a Tonga voice on the Internet and to make information and communication tools readily available to the pupils, teachers and the various stakeholders around the I.T.C.

1.a Binga High School - S. Ncube

The school had, through the S.D.A, members of staff and pupils been able to raise money to acquire furniture, place a ceiling and install the fans in the room that had been set aside for the computers. The required hardware and part of the finances had been made available by AZFA. All this teamwork, it was noted, had led to the speedy realisation of the first phase of the Tonga - on line project, the establishment of the Binga High School Information Technology Centre. The launch of the Binga High School I.T.C was a success and the Honourable Minister of Information and Publicity, Professor Jonathan Moyo who was the guest of Honour at the function promised to do all that he could to assist in the speedy electrification of Siachilaba Primary School in order to lay ground for the establishment of a ComputerLab there in close affiliation with Binga High School I.T.C. The presence of his Excellency the Austrian Ambassador Dr. Leitenbauer was also highly valued as underligning the strong ties and development cooperation between people in Austria and Zimbabwe.

1.b Binga High School I.T.C - S Ncube

The Information centre at Binga High School has been operating at a low note, it was indicated, due to the lack of full-time staff at the centre. It was reported that members of the teaching staff who were trained by Mr. Carsten Wagner after the installation of the computers are currently managing it. It was however noted that with the introduction of double sessioning at the school, it would now be possible to have the centre open throughout the day. With the installation of a separately dedicated phone line, Internet access can now be throughout the day. The I.T.C is now a member of the World Links for Development Programme (WorLD) and will be known as Binga WorLD Centre.

1.c World Links for Development (WorLD) and the Mpopoma experience - J. Chirinda

The participants were briefed on the history and aims of the WorLD programme. The WorLD programme was said to be a country wide programme started and sponsored by the World Bank. It seeks to improve the teaching and learning experience through the provision of current and diverse information to the developing world by using advanced technology such as the Internet. It also provides technical support to established I.T.C's as well as assisting in the setting up of new I.T.C's around the country. Binga High School I.T.C is actually the 43rd WorLD Centre in Zimbabwe.

The operations of Mpopoma WorLD Centre were explained to the house as a way of giving guidance to the Binga WorLD Centre. He indicated that with the services they provide to the local community, they are able to pay their phone bills and remain with a reasonable amount of money that could be used for repairs, replacement and other services.

1.d Mulonga site - Peter Kuthan (AZFA)

The site www.mulonga.net which was created to facilitate cultural exchange and an awareness of the Tonga culture was said to be playing its part as there was now an increased appreciation of not only the Tonga culture but also better access to the context of Zimbabwe as a country. It was indicated, however, that:

  • there is a need to promote the development of more local content on the site so as to stimulate more interest in the Binga area and perhaps lead to further partnerships that would benefit people in and around Binga and the wider Tonga community on both sides of the River.
  • the Centre provides a tool for a more interactive approach to communication, in which social actors and stakeholders are information producers and not mere passive receivers of information, claiming their right to communicate in public space as a vital democratic aspiration.
  • referring to the design - the colours on the site appear dull and need to be adjusted.
  • there is a need to open up a live chat room on the site for people who might be interested in communicating directly on the site.

 

1.e Partnerships - Mrs Nyathi (Binga Craft Centre) and Mrs Kuthan (Auhof Basket Company)

The partnership between Binga Craft Centre and Auhof Basket Company was cited as an example of the positive partnerships that could be developed through the use of the Internet as a tool for communication. Binga Craft Centre has been able to sell some 400 Tonga baskets to the Auhof Basket Company in Linz so far. Similar partnerships were encouraged within the local schools and departments.

1.f Siachilaba Primary School - Mrs Nhliziyo (Head)

The school has identified and set aside a room for the intended establishment of a ComputerLab which is facilitated by the donation of 10 computers by AZFA and its Austrian sponsor TechWorld. This will be the second phase of the Tonga - online project. It was indicated that there is still a need to raise funds for electrification of the school and security measures for the classroom. The discussion of a constitution for the management committee of the centre which encompasses all stakeholders has started already.

2. Services and potential services at Binga High School I.T.C S. Ndlovu

a) The opening of the centre was said to have led to the following:

  • Access to the computer
  • Printing out and dissemination of information particularly by teachers for lessons
  • Browsing the internet for entertainment
  • Checking and sending of e-mails.
  • Opening of e-mail addresses
  • Cultural exchange
  • The display of local products on the Internet
  • A wider knowledge base for stakeholders

b) Potential uses of the centre were said to be the following:-

  • Computer courses
  • Conference facilities with presentations using PowerPoint
  • Computer based accounting courses
  • Marketing of local products and services on the Internet
  • Typing lessons
  • School partnerships through the Internet
  • Corporate partnerships through the Internet
  • Access to specialised Advisory Services and Counselling (i.e. Public Health/ HIV/ Aids; Agritex, Marketing Boards etc.)
  • Access to distant learning and training facilities (i.e. Zimbabwe Open University etc.)
  • Access to donors and sponsors as a fund raising facility

 

3. Potentials and Resources

a. for maintaining Binga High School I.T.C Centre.
It was indicated that stakeholders such as neighbouring schools and other institutions pay affiliation fees that would make it possible to run and maintain the centre.
Two teachers should be seconded to the centre by the Ministry of education to man the centre on a full time basis
An ICT-Technician who would be sponsored by the Austrian NGO Horizon 3000 has been offered to the centre for a two-year period.
b. For Siachilaba
Ten computers are earmarked for Siachilaba by AZFA
The Head of Binga High School indicated that plans were being made to carry out some fundraising performances by the Drama and Choir so as to assist Siachilaba Primary School in raising funds for preparing the room to house the computers.

4. Problems and constraints faced by the Tonga online project

a. Binga High School I.T.C
The keys on the keyboards, it was indicated, need to be changed because the Y and Z keys are inverted. The keyboards also need to be set as English as opposed to the current German set-up. Another problem is damage to the modem caused by lightning.
b. Siachilaba Primary School
The factors that are slowing down the progress at Siachilaba Primary School were said to be:

  • Lack of electricity
  • Poor security around the area
  • Problems in communication between Siachilaba and AZFA

It was indicated that the funds to get the room electrified and secure were a problem. An appeal was made to approach stakeholders such as ZESA to assist through the Rural Electrification programme in speeding up the process of making electricity available to Siachilaba Primary School. Communication between AZFA and Siachilaba will have to go through the Binga High School I.T.C to facilitate faster communication.

5. The Way Forward

a. Binga High School I.T.C
The following are the recommendations on the way forward for the centre:

  • Conduct a survey to find out the needs of the stakeholders vis a vis services needed from the centre.
  • Set up a fees structure for the available services
  • Advertise to familiarise the community with the available services and operating conditions
  • Encourage and assist stakeholders to contribute more content to the Mulonga website
  • Create a slot to staff develop teachers from Siachilaba in preparation for the setting up of an Information Technology Centre at Siachilaba Primary School.

b. Siachilaba Primary School
The following was set up as the way forward:

  • Fundraising for the project
  • Electrifying the school
  • Provide for security measures
  • Complete classroom bloc to replace classes
  • Getting stakeholders to contribute labour and materials
  • Training teachers in preparation for the arrival of the computers
  • Discussing the constitution of the Management Committee

6. Management and Maintenance Committee for Binga High School I.T.C

The I.T.C was said to be under the ownership of the Binga High School S.D.A. There is, however a need to set up a management & finance committee that will look into the finances of the centre. Stakeholders, it was indicated, should be incorporated through the establishment of an Advisory Board who would however have no direct influence on the day to day running of the centre.

The Seminar was closed by a word of prayer from Pastor Hungwe.

Compiled by Sengamo Ndlovu, Binga High School, 20 - 02 - 2002