Computers for Binga Library: IT Public Access Point and books handed over

On the 27th of October 2011, Basilwizi Trust handed over the ICT Public Access Point (PAP) at Binga Library to Binga Rural District Council in a bid to improve information access in the district. Basilwizi is an organisation operating in Binga with an objective of developing Tonga communities. It has taken over the Tonga.Online project after it was realised that its funding base has dwindled. The Public Access Point will afford the local community access to information through internet services. The Binga Rural District Council accommodated the PAP facilities in the community library for convenience of the local population.

The Tonga.Online project was started in 2001 and experienced some management problems in early 2011. It was taken over by Basilwizi who today have seen it good to hand over the PAP facilities to the Rural District Council to provide for ownership by the local authorities. Basilwizi have decided to make this project a prerogative of the Rural District council. Thus, the twelve computers were handed over in a ceremony on 27th October.

Speaking on behalf of the Austria-Zimbabwe Friendship Association (AZFA), the visiting IT expert Rupi Ruprechtsberger explained how Information Technology could play a crucial role in cultural development of the BaTonga people.

We have deliberately named the project website ‘Mulonga’ because its reference to the flowing waters of the Zambezi River, which means, the Tonga culture is not a static entity of the past but something which develops over time,” said Rupi.

The Public Access Point is therefore important in linking the world with the Tonga culture and the Tonga culture with the world”, he added. He assured the key stakeholders present that AZFA will continue providing training and some backup services for the ICT centres established in the district including PAP facilities.

The Assistant District Administrator, Mr Mugoriya, who officiated the ceremony on behalf of BRDC said in his speech: “the Public Access Point with its computers and possible future internet connections are crucial in demystifying the myths about the Tonga culture on the internet, the PAP is therefore a very crucial thing to the community around”. He told the gathering of about 200 people that a lot of negative things have been said about Tonga culture. With the connection to the Internet, Mr Mugoriya said the world will be assured of true stories about the life of the people of The Great Valley.

The Director of Basilwizi, Frank Mudimba, emphasised the need for school children to take computer literacy with the zeal it deserves. “The computers that have been handed over to the council are meant to improve and promote information access and sharing with the outside world. We hope the computers will go a long way in improving the education standards and performances in the local schools,” he said. He also encouraged students present to make use of PAP facilities and the text books donated.

At the same occasion, Rupi was handing over several boxes of donated text books and contemporary Zimbabwean literature to Mr Barnabas B. Munkuli of Binga Rural District Council. These books will be put up in the Community Library which houses the PAP facilities.

Handover report by Josias Mungombe & Bbaido Ndlovu