Stakeholders Update May 2006

Binga continues to have heavy rains almost daily. The rains sometimes come with harsh thunder and lightning that affects the whole district with power cuts and bad telephone networks. Most roads around the district have been destroyed, and after the season, will be very costly to maintain as confirmed by the servicing departments who failed to do the required road works last year due to lack of funding and fuel.

These factors also affect Tonga.Online project's operations as expected by the district. Nevertheless we are determined to progress and are facing the challenges together with all stakeholders involved.

Binga district welcomes the deployment of an Austrian specialist, Uwe Allgäuer, who will assist in the maintenance of IT services and focus on technical IT training for Binga people. Facilitated by Horizont3000, he will also advise the District Council's Science and Technology committee, where he was co-opted as a member We hope that all partners and stakeholders will offer him their most valuable support as we continue to invite donors and sponsors to make the Binga project more successful and beneficial to the community, with more active ITCs and respective capacity development programmes.

Binga ITC: The centre has managed to network all 15 computers, which are now connected to the internet and all users are enjoying the service although sometimes disturbed by the unstable network. The Centre has been producing students' ID cards as a fundraising project. Basic computer training has started well after the computers were serviced to a normal working condition, with sixteen (16) people, five men and eleven women who include members of different Churches and spouses of main stakeholders completing the course. Horizont3000 has visited the district along with Uwe Allgäuer, and finalized his attachment to Binga High School. Tonga.Online facilitated the introduction of the technician to local authorities, schools and the District Council's Science and Technology Committee, into which Uwe was co-opted based on his IT expertise.

Siachilaba ITC: The plans for an outreach training with Alpha Smart keyboards in feeder schools with the assistance of computer literate / trained teachers from Siachilaba's feeder schools is being communicated to the concerned schools. Although access to the ITC is given to the whole school, the trainer is giving more attention to the 45 Grade Sevens, 20 boys and 25 girls, along with four members of the community (1 man, 3 women) who took the basic computer course this month. The centre is also open on certain times on weekends to cater for the public that is busy during the weekdays. The headmaster has expressed concern about financial constraints in replacing printing cartridge but is negotiating with some suppliers.

Syanzyundu ITC: The headmaster is still following up on the center's printer at the MINESC regional office in Bulawayo. The IT trainer is having computer lessons with all the school's thirteen classes, a total of 600 students, and assisted four community members, two males and two females who had enrolled for the basic computer course. Feeder schools were asked to organize and expose their pupils, especially Grade Sevens to the ITC for computer literacy. All teachers are being encouraged to be computer literate so to be able to teach their classes using the Alpha Smarts that are available at the centre. The trainer has also set up a meeting with Chief Saba to help train the Chief's committee, especially the secretary, in using the Alpha Smart for their village court minutes and other documents.

Twiimbilane Studio: The studio has received another amplifier from AZFA and a guitar is still to come. Apart from the ongoing music recording and development, we have assessed and found a good number of artists with meaningful music on HIV /AIDS that we thought could be used for awareness and behavior change across the community. The studio department has therefore visited the District Aids Action Coordinator's office (DAAC) for support to carry out awareness activities in the form of a live performance at the Binga Business Centre. We feel the event would make the songs useful as well as exposing and giving confidence to the artists. We are working with some artists in putting together some available instruments but the most difficult to find is the drum set and speakers. We also require refreshments/food and transport for the artists who are coming from around the district. It is our hope that some concerned members of the globe will be able to reach us with the necessary support to start these activities in the next two months.

Simonga Cultural Group: The group has continued to consult Chief Siachilaba about the year's first beer ceremony, Matenta that they would like to celebrate with all Tonga traditional music. The group met on 23 February where they tasked each other to different roles. Women are reproducing or maintaining the beaded costumes for the group and some for marketing. Basket-makers are looking for an opportunity to market their goods abroad and earn more Zimbabwe dollars with the exchange bank rates.