Tonga.Online: January 09 stakeholder update

1.0    Introduction:

The year started early for Tonga. Online, with rehearsals preparation for Linz09 as early as the 2nd of
January 2009. Concurrently happening with the rehearsals was the Tonga.Online project review and planning workshop that took place from the 5th to 9th  January 2009. Needful to mention were series of meetings held with the Rural Electrification Agency, Arachnid, Rotary Club Belmont and with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture to inform stakeholders and draw up synergies. These meetings were part of the review and planning process and also forums to gather information to guide strategic planning at the workshop.

2.0    Linz09 Parade Preparations

2.1    Rehearsals

The city of Linz in Austria is the Cultural Capital of Europe for the year 2009. Linz will be hosting various cultural activities throughout the year 2009. A joint Ngoma Buntibe group with 15 members from Sinazongwe, Zambia and 15 from Siachilaba in Zimbabwe will be travelling to Linz, Austria on April 29th, 2009. The joint group will perform for three days on 1st to 3rd May, 2009 as part of the Parade.

On the 2nd of January, 2009 the combined group came together for rehearsals at Binga High School that were concluded with a performance Parade from Binga High School, through Freedom Square with a stop at the District Administrators Office. The Parade then moved on to Binga Library which is hosting the Tonga.Online Offices where there were some speeches by The Honourable Chief Sinazongwe, the Siachilaba group leader, Sialwindi Munkuli, the Tonga.Online Director, Pottar Muzamba and the Tonga.Online Artistic and Communications Manager, Sengamo Ndlovu.

2.2    Passport processing

Passports for the Zambian team were applied for on the 15th of January 2009 and are expected out after three weeks. The passports for the Zimbabwean team are already out. The visa applications will be made after the availability of the Zambian passports.

3.0    Review and Planning Workshop.

The Tonga.Online project review and planning workshop with the purpose of assessing the current situation and project background, review its achievements and relevance for the community and to draw lessons and strategic guidelines for the future, was held from the 5th to the 9th of January, 2009.  The review started with series of meetings with Ministry of Education (Province), Rural Electrification Agency, Arachnid and Rotary Club Belmont all based in Bulawayo, on the 5th of January 2009. These meetings provided a wealth of information for sound planning of the ICT programmes and Rotary Solar project in Binga district.

The review was subsequently followed by an evaluation and planning exercise on the 8th and 9th of January, 2009. Ten (10) representatives from various ITCs attended the workshop along with representatives from Local authorities, AZFA, Kunzwana Trust, Horizont3000, Tonga.Onair and Basilwizi Trust. The Honourable Chief Sinazongwe attended the first day. The review and planning exercise was facilitated by Barbara Vitoria, a  consultant from ICC. Workplans were then drawn up for 2009, taking into consideration the prevailing socio-economic and political situation in the country.

4.0    Follow up Meetings

After the review and planning seminar, follow up meetings were held, with Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and Rotary Club Belmont on the 12th of January, 2009, with a purpose of expiditing the planning process of the Rotary Solar project which is earmarked to provide power at three secondary schools namely, Siabuwa, Tyunga and Lubimbi in Binga district. Bills of quantities for materials requirements for solar electrification and the completion of the Siabuwa grid were availed to Rotary Club Belmont.

5.0    Electrification of Kariangwe ITC

Tubing and wiring works at Kariangwe High School ITC were done on the 23rd and 30th of January, 2009 respectively. The application forms for connection were submitted to ZESA. Currently, the school awaits connection approval from ZESA. Once the ITC is connected to electricity, the setting of the centre with already available / stored computers will then follow.

6.0    Cholera

Binga experienced the outbreak of cholera on the 1st of Januray, 2009 in Siabuwa, Tyunga, Saba, and Pashu areas. Siabuwa and Tyunga areas were the most affected because of the hive of economic activities taking place in those parts of the district. By the 26th of January, 2009, Cholera had claimed 44 lives and 961  cases were registered. The Civil Protection Committee, MOH and CW, and other stakeholders were working tirelessly to bring the situation under control.

7.0    Communication/Connectivity

Communication and connectivity is almost becoming a nightmare in the district following the blowing of 2 rectifier modules at Binga exchange and also the perpetual breakdowns in the TelOne backbone infrastructure mainly at Cross Tsholotsho and Kamativi. TelOne have therefore reduced the exchange running hours to 14 hrs to save the remaining module. If spares are not sourced to replace blown off parts, then improving connectivity through E1 Leased line can not be achieved. Stakeholders such as NetOne and Econet should therefore be mobilised to assist in solving the problem.

8.0    General conditions

The district received a reasonable amount of rainfall in this 2009 agricultural season. The challenge that was faced by farmers was the shortage of agricultural inputs to plough. In this light, very little in terms of agricultural produce is expected this season. The district shall still require food aid to alleviate the people from hunger.

Compiled by

Pottar Muzamba
Project Director