Stakeholders Update January 2003

The Binga ITC at the High School has continued to be very busy since the period of last report, and the school holidays have not cut down the number of users; instead it has become obvious that the centre offers a valuable service which is used throughout the year. From 2003, Computer Science will be included in the school curriculum as an examinable subject at O Level, and classes of Form 3 students will be enabled to write this subject for the first time in Binga. The timetable is constantly revised and ensures that all students at the school have the opportunity of access for school work.

Finances - The spiraling costs of all services and materials prohibit the making of any meaningful profits; however the centre continues to break even. Other services are offered to the general public, which are various skills of members of the team, and some small income has been derived from this also. At the end of February it is planned to hold a fund-raising event in Binga.

Personnel - With the introduction of Computer Science at O Level, the Ministry of Education has seen fit to provide a second Computer Resource Teacher, Mr. Blessmore Siasweka, who joins the existing team of Sternford Muchineripi (Computer Resource Teacher), Sengamo Ndlovu (teacher), Stefan Hecke (technical/web design/training) and Penny Yon (publicity/gender/training). The team continuously work towards improving the general service of the centre, for the people of Binga.

Training - Since training courses commenced in May 2002, over 110 individuals have registered and undergone training courses. Statistics show that most people still require the first level of training, and “Introduction to Computers” courses continue. Group training has taken place for KMTC, National Parks, Campaign for Female Education, and the first in a series of free courses for important stakeholders was held in December.

Affiliation - Although other schools in the Binga area have been invited to affiliate to the centre for a small fee, and free Introduction training for two teachers from each school has been offered, there have been no affiliations to date. Distance and transport may be a prohibiting factor, although many individual users are teachers or students of the local primary school.

Publicity - There has been a general increase in publicity by word of mouth, and attractive posters have been placed in strategic places around Binga. Publicity is vital to the success of the centre and its financial viability, and all stakeholders are urged to support the centre by sending their employees for training, and encouraging its general use in their workplaces.

Satellite Centres : Siachilaba and Siansundu - As previously reported, TONGA.ONLINE has commenced planning with the Siachilaba Primary School and Siansundu Secondary School for the establishment of satellite ITCs at these schools. An application is being made to the EEC Micro Projects Programme for financial support to refurbish classrooms at both schools for the preparation of computers. All and any assistance is welcomed, since these communities have few resources other than labour.

Problems Encountered - In December it became necessary to purchase a third modem, and since current market prices were beyond the capacity of the centre, AZFA purchased a modem through World Links in Harare, which was unfortunately also blown, and again replaced by AZFA. Power surge protectors were also purchased for each computer to protect the equipment. Network troubleshooting was carried out by Dr Gary Brooking of Arachnid Designs, Bulawayo, who generously waived any payment for his time over the weekend in Dec 2002. Accommodation, meals and part transport were paid by AZFA. This troubleshooting visit provided Stefan Hecke with good support and information in dealing with the network.

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 : District Administrator, Binga - for giving the ‘go ahead’ and continued support of the project;
Tel One - for consistent support in checking telephone lines, and assistance with new applications;
ZESA - for co-operation in checking power lines and finding faults;
Binga Craft Centre - Use of computer for internet when ITC modem was not functioning;
Arachnid Design - for waiving per hour fees.

The following are some needs of the centre. Please consider if your organisation is able to assist :

  • Bond paper
  • Printer ribbons/Laser printer
  • Electrification of Siachilaba Primary School
  • Telephone line for Siachilaba Primary School
  • Building materials, burglar bars and fans for Siachilaba and Siansundu schools

Third Stakeholders Meetings - May 2003 - The proposed visit of Mr Peter Kuthan, Chairman of the Austria-Zimbabwe Friendship Association was tentatively planned for end January/early February, however this visit has been postponed to early May 2003 due to the current fuel crisis which prohibits all movements. More information will be given closer to the time.

Please continue to give this important project your good support.


Headmaster, Binga High School