Tonga.Online Stakeholder Update May - June 2010

In May, June 2010 the Tonga.Online team has carried out a range of activities covering not only the whole Binga district but also lobbying for a temporary permit for Binga wireless project and coordinating with Rotary Club Belmont regarding its Siabuwa Solar Project which is close to implementation. Read the extensive report.

Sianzyundu Maintenance, (Training of Trainer)

Against the background that Sianzyundu had two computer Teachers leaving the school, which saw the recruitment and deployment of untrained teachers to the school ITC TONGA ONLINE had to carryout basic maintenance tasks required at the school and pass on some basic ITC maintenance skills to the ITC teacher.  The teacher also had to be trained how to teach Ubuntu and how Ubuntu can be used as a teaching tool.  Three visits were made to Sianzyundu secondary.

Car ownership Transfer to Basilwizi Trust

The process of change of ownership of the Nissan Hard body took place between the 13th of May and the 24th of May starting from Bulawayo and ending at the Central Vehicle Registry in Harare. The car is now registered under Basilwizi Trust.  

Potraz Meetings in Harare

During car transfer visit was combined with the meeting with POTRAZ to submit a completed application form that that they had sent earlier to Tonga Online. During the meeting it was learnt that, Potraz had meetings with ISPs after TONGA ONLINE had submitted papers in 2007 to discuss the matter of the ISM band. Tonga Online was unfortunately not invited. From this meeting it was agreed that the 2.4 GHz band could be freed for use within a 100m range. Regulations were to be written that would allow for such use.

It was also agreed in the meeting that anybody requiring to use the 2.4 GHz outside the 100m range, like Tonga Online, would have to apply for a licence.  However a licence for use outside this range can only be awarded after specific regulations are in place.

On further discussing the Tonga Online case, that there are Technicians and hardware ready to ship into Zimbabwe for installation in July it was agreed on that:

1.Tonga Online would reapply and specify that they need to set up a Pilot project for a period like 12-24 Months.

If unsuccessful in the above reapplication,

2. TONGA ONLINE would also call for a meeting with the Potraz team and the Director General in Harare to discuss the matter and request for a speedy temporary permit.

During this period TONGA ONLINE would assess the impact of the project, study ideal wireless LAN management principles, procedures, and software. Potraz would also come in to make empirical tests on the setup.

Rotary Meeting in Bulawayo

TONGA ONLINE had a meeting with the Rotarians, during the same period, in Bulawayo to discuss the progress made in the design and preparations for the construction of the tower, where Solar panels are going to be mounted at Siabuwa Secondary School.

It was reported that the incoming Rotary Belmont Club President who is directly responsible for this activity was advised to wait until the tender is awarded and then the weight and dimensions of the panels will be made available.

TONGA ONLINE reported during that meeting that Siabuwa Secondary School had managed to procure two bags of cement for the construction of the tower.
Siabuwa Solar Project Current Developments

The latest development in this project is that Rotary Belmont has awarded the Installation Contract to Mr. Kerr of Madison Investments. A sample agreement has already been sent to Madison Investments who are currently discussing the finalities with Ludwig, Solar Expert for Rotary, before they can send a final price.
The agreement is scheduled to be signed in Bulawayo on the 28th of June

Wireless Network Points

The Science and Technology Subcommittee have agreed to include the following points in the pilot phase of the Binga Wireless Local Area Network.
Tonga Online
Basilwizi Office
Binga High School
Binga Primary School
Manjolo Secondary School
Ministry of Education Offices
Manjolo Primary School
Binga RDC (Education Department or ALL or LAN)

Tonga Online has already sent in pictorial descriptions of these sites for further discussions with the wireless technicians from Austria.

Donation of Monitors to Binga Primary School

During the Harare visit Tonga Online acquired some used monitors, from Kunzwana Trust, left for spares by Horizont3000. Tonga Online managed to get two to of them work. These were donated to Binga Primary School who, always had a shortage of TWO monitors.

Binga Primary School now has 6 working computers with working monitors.
Binga High School  Audit and Maintenance

Binga High School asked TONGA ONLINE to carry out an audit of its ITC equipment and services so that they can possibly repair, replace some of the equipment and improve their ITC services before their silver jubilee celebrations.

TONGA ONLINE carried out the Audit and made recommendations in a draft report, that’s being discussed, to correct some anomalies. A final report will be produced when Binga High School gives TONGA ONLINE some feedback on some of the issues noted in the report.

TONGA ONLINE also assisted the school in removing some pirated software that was illegally installed by BHS teachers.  Teachers were also equipped with skills to install and maintain Ubuntu.

Lusulu Maintenance Workshop

TONGA ONLINE carried out a one day skills transfer workshop to equip teachers from Sianzyundu Secondary School, Tinde Secondary School, Pashu Secondary School and Lusulu High Schools with skills on how they can use the tools provided by Edubuntu in teaching. Teachers were also given the essential leadership skills which are needed in motivating other teachers to use ICTs as tools for teaching all subjects on a daily basis.



Lubimbi Solar Performance Review

Tonga Online visited Lubimbi Secondary school with one official from the MoESAC to review the performance of the solar mini grid installed at Lubimbi secondary school by REA.

Figure 1 Computer Connected in the Headmaster’s Office at Lubimbi Secondary School

Figure 2 Solar Mini grid installed at Lubimbi Secondary school
It was observed that:
i.REA has installed one solar mini grid for the school, which is supplying electricity to the school and teachers cottages.
ii.The Mini grid can run a maximum of three computers simultaneously. The school is currently using three out of the available nine computers.
iii.The Mini grid has an automatic cut-off mechanism which cuts off when the load outweighs the supply.
iv.The school generally has problems with power budgeting, batteries. The batteries seem not to be keeping the maximum specified capacity.  The school has observed that if they use the three computers for more than four hours they will not have adequate power for lighting in the evenings.  
v.If there is good sunshine, the school can use the three computers for about six hours and still have a few hours of lighting in the evening
vi.The school cannot use a printer available on the installed mini grid. To try and solve this problem, the school has resorted to sign an old solar panel and inverter which used to be used at the school a long time ago, to power up one computer, while the whole mini grid powers up the printer. This is the only way they are able to print a few school documents.
i.Tonga Online should continue carrying out more scientific observations of the Lubimbi Solar installation with accurately measured data and times in order to establish the correct performance of the solar installation.
ii.The original plan by Rotary to provide solar equipment to Lubimbi should continue but take a slightly different approach. Rotary should come in to upgrade the Lubimbi Solar Mini grid, by
a.Replacing the batteries if that is required.
b.Providing laptops and low energy consuming printers which need less energy to run
c.Increasing the number of panels and batteries so that the school can utilize more computers.

Manjolo Secondary Maintenance

A visit was made to Manjolo Secondary schoolboy Tonga Online and one MoESAC*) Officer for Binga. The objective of the visit was to discuss preparations and readiness for the pilot wireless LAN. It was observed that:

i.Manjolo secondary school teachers removed all the Open Source Software that was installed by Tonga Online and replaced it with pirated Windows Software.

ii.The issue of piracy was discussed at length and the need for Manjolo to participate on the Wireless LAN with legitimate software was emphasized.

iii.From the meeting it was agreed that Tonga online would follow up and address the problem.

iv.On following up, the school could not cooperate as Tonga Online was recommending the removal of pirated software and reinstallation of Ubuntu as well as training for the new ICT teacher and others in the school.
v.MoESAC has since been informed about this development and they have promised to intervene.

Wireless Preparation  BPS, MPS, BRDC, MoESAC*)

Tonga.Online had meetings with Heads of Binga Primary School, Manjolo Primary school and Binga rural District Council. The following key issues were raised:
i.BRDC has an existing LAN which needs to be extended to other rooms that are currently not connected.
ii.BRDC needs a data switch to resuscitate their LAN.

iii.Tonga.Online will make BRDC part of all skills transfer workshops as a way of dealing with serious piracy and integration of Ubuntu as a solution.

iv.Binga Primary school needs a LAN which should be extended to the Headmaster’s office.

v.Manjolo Primary school needs more computers since they have very old computers that are running from Windows 98. The old computers cannot run Ubuntu either.

vi.Manjolo Primary school will also need a LAN which should be extends to the special class and the headmaster’s office.

vii.MoESAC needs a LAN.

viii.Officers from MoESAC and BRDC will be part of all the skills transfer workshop carried out by Tonga.Online , to get them ready for the Wireless LAN
ZPS Requests TO Assist in Rehabilitation of Prisoners

The Zimbabwe Prison Services requested Tonga Online to assist with instruments and expertise in rehabilitating offenders. A meeting was held between Tonga Online and ZPS. It was resolved that the Artistic and Communications officer and the prison officer develop  a rehabilitating program which considers what Tonga Online can offer and what ZPS experts and can offer too. The program together with minutes of all meetings held and letters of requests will be discussed further by partners of the projects.

Gender Roles In Ngoma Ya Buntibe

A research into the gender roles in the Ngoma yaBuntibe is still in progress. This research is meant to establish the direction which the Ngoma yaBuntibe music taking, whether it’s growing or dying from the eye of the elders. It is also meant to establish the changes in gender based roles that are coming into Ngoma over time and the effect that the elders think this has on Ngoma yaBuntibe. The study looks at the past, the present and the future.

The sample Database of Tonga Craft is still under development.

Tonga Online attended a meeting on Education Review

A meeting on Education Review was held at the council Boardroom, run and facilitated by a team from the Ministry of Education Head office. Key stakeholders in the Ministry of Education were invited to participate, including some school children, parents, NGO`s, Government departments etc. The meeting was focusing on answering the following questions:-
1.What is wrong with the education system in Zimbabwe?
2.What should be done to improve it?
3.What three things should be done in 2011?

Training for Transformation

A week long workshop was attended that focused on training staff on what transformation is and how we can bring about transformation in the communities we are working with. The training also covered leadership styles.

Tonga Culture exposure

This was done by taking the Mucheni Ngoma yaBuntibe Group to the Victoria Falls to take part in the Culture Week Launch at Chinotimba Stadium. Schools representing all the districts in Matabeleland North took part in the launch. There were also several out of school adult groups coming from Bulawayo, Hwange, Victoria Falls and Zambia.
Tonga artifacts from the BaTonga Museum were displayed at the launch and the Mucheni Ngoma yaBuntibe group represented the Tonga culture fairly well, leading to an understanding by critics why the group had to be almost three times the size that the organizers had expected each participating group to be. Binga High School had four students and Manjolo Secondary School had one student as part of the entourage.

While meant for exposing the Tonga culture, the same trip was also used to expose the young torch bearers of Tonga culture to the Victoria falls, its bridge and the Zimbabwean and Zambian border posts in a bid to widen their horizons.

Assistance to Kukondwa Performing Arts continued with some exposure at the Binga Rest Camp and individual artistes coming in to use equipment like the guitars for practice.

Local Content Creation

Two workshops were held to develop student capacity in content creation. This is in preparation for the setup of an educational network between Ministry of education offices, Manjolo Secondary and Primary and Binga High and Primary Schools and other stakeholders. It also seeks to improve passes, particularly of English by helping members of these clubs to develop their writing skills.
Manjolo Secondary School

The first was held at Manjolo Secondary School and was attended by 23 students and 1 teacher as follows:-

Students Male
Students Female
Teachers Male
Teachers Female

The workshop introduced Journalism and how an article should be written. It further touched on Journalistic ethics and the laws guiding journalism in Zimbabwe. Newspaper articles were used with the participants breaking into two groups to go through the articles and identify the key questions that a journalistic article needs to answer such as what?, where?, when?, why?, who?, how?

They were then asked to report on any event around them following the reporting format discussed. Articles have since been collected from all the participants through their teacher, who is responsible for setting up a club structure together with the students.
Manjolo Primary School

The focus of this workshop was on creative writing; after lessons learnt from Manjolo Secondary Showed that Primary School children could probably better handle creative writing than Journalistic articles.

The attendance was as follows:-

Students Male
Students Female
Teachers Male
Teachers Female

The workshop introduced creative writing as writing that someone makes up such as poetry, short stories, or even novels.

After the workshop a short meeting was held with the teachers present and the Head joined in. T.O indicated that its role in developing creative writing was more as a stimulant and the best scenario would be for the school to take up a leading role in ensuring that the activity was sustained for the benefit of the students.

It was agreed in the meeting that the teachers would help to guide the participants in writing their articles using the writing guides that were left for them. The teachers then arranged to meet the children the next day after school and to break them into smaller groups with each group being attended to by a specific teacher.

The rest of the staff would be taught in creative writing during one of the schools staff development sessions.

*) MoESAC refers to Ministry of Education Sports, Arts and Culture