Strategic Planning Seminar in Binga

July 2006 was a very busy month for Tonga.Online with preparations for and the conduct of a strategic planning seminar with project partners visiting from Austria and Harare, namely Austria-Zimbabwe Friendship Association (AZFA), HORIZONT3000, HIVOS, and Kunzwana Trust. The seminar was held for project review and strategic planning involving all key players and stakeholders for the further development of the ICT project in the Binga District.

After courtesy and briefing visits to local authorities, the partners visited existing ITCs at Binga Highschool, Siansundu Secondary and Siachilaba Primary schools and Twiimbilane Studio, who presented reports on the progress and constraints faced by the centres, which were later discussed at the seminar.

Headmasters of 8 schools with computers attended the 2-day workshop held on 18/19 July in Binga. These included Binga High, Binga Primary, Manjolo Secondary and Primary, Siachilaba Primary, Siansundu Secondary, Pashu, Lubimbi and Kariangwe High. Tinde and Lusulu High, schools which already have computers, were invited but unfortunately failed to attend.

Key participants included the Acting Provincial and District Education Officers, representatives of Local Government, Binga Rural District Council as the local authority, Prof S B Mangena representing the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo, and other stakeholders including Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), and TelOne.

Assessment of the current status and potential for expansion of the project were thoroughly explored, including new government policy relating to Information Technology. Recommendations were made for capacity building of the existing centres through technical and management training, and the development of services for continued income generation for sustainability. The possibilities for improved Internet connection were also discussed, and a feasibility study planned. An advisory board was established which includes Dr S B Mangena of NUST and Mr A Dube, the Acting Provincial Education Director who were present, and Mr Eliada Gudza of World Links (invited but needs to be confirmed).

With the project facing another challenging phase, the current interim structure will make way for a new staff structure, with positions being advertised both in Binga and further afield.

On 20 July a presentation was made to the Science and Technology Subcommittee of the Binga RDDC on the stakeholder meeting. The purpose of the presentation was to update the subcommittee on the outcome of the meeting and to secure ongoing support for the project amongst local authorities and stakeholders.

A further donation of computer software and hardware was gratefully received from AZFA and World Links, continuing support for technical needs. Software for e-learning to develop the understanding and use of computers for education was presented by Mrs Hedi Kuthan to the ITCs.

On 22 July the AZFA representatives and Prof S B Mangena from NUST visited Manjolo Primary and Secondary, and Kariangwe, Pashu and Tinde High Schools in order to assess the state of preparations for the establishment of further ITCs.

read more about the workshop proceedings (pdf) and results in a report provided by the workshop facilitator Barbara Vitoria

see some pictures from the workshop