ITC General + Stakeholder Updates

Information Technology Centers ITCs or so called Telecenters

In 2000, World Links introduced its Telecenter model to encourage school lab sustainability while promoting community development. World Links openned telecenters in Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mali, India, and Brazil. Though different in every country, the typical World Links model is an important source of local-level program sustainability to underwrite recurrent costs associated with the technology and to improve community-school relations. Equally important, this model extends the benefits of technology, the internet and life-long learning to the entire community for a wide range of development applications.

World Links telecenters are either school-based computer labs or community centers that are converted into telecenters for the purpose of introducing ICT skills and IT-enabled resources to underserved communities, with the intent of enabling adults and youth to participate successfully in the global knowledge-based economy. To that end, World Links empowers both the school and general communities to convert school-based computer labs or community centers to self-sustaining community-accessible technology learning centers. Increasingly, World Links has been introducing its telecenter model to non-school structures, including government offices, community centers, and NGO offices.

While every World Links Telecenter is different, all World Links Telecenters focus on capacity building for several population segments, within and outside the school. At the school level, World Links builds capacity in principals, teachers, and students to manage the day-to-day operations of the school-based telecenter; this facilitates the building of entrepreneurial skills. Outside the school, the telecenters focus on introducing ICTs and IT enabled resources to underserved populations. To that end, World Links telecenters have provided communities with access to information on health, environment, and agricultural issues, while creating a safe, secure, and inviting environment for under-reached populations such as out of school youth, women, and senior citizens to acquire IT skills.

A World Links Telecenter is a combination of a computer lab and a private Internet cafe. Whereas a computer lab’s purpose is pedagogy, and an Internet cafe's purpose is profit for sustainability, a World Links Telecenter seeks to fulfill both pedagogy and sustainability. At no point, however, will the quest for profits ever overpower the desire to diffuse technological knowledge. The profit-seeking nature of a World Links Telecenter exists solely to further its educational mission.

Sustainability of World Links’ telecenter programs is achieved in several ways. While some World Links telecenters achieve sustainability through guaranteed government support for all recurrent expenses, other centers develop solid revenue generation models to support ongoing costs. In all instances, World Links works closely with key stakeholders to ensure that expenses are being met in the long term.

The Tonga.Online Project has been collaborating with World Links since early 2001 in the establishment of ITCs at Binga Highschool, Siansundu Secondary and Siachilaba Primary School in Binga area in Matabeleland North. After the donation of computers by President Mugabe to some other schools in the district there is potential to expand the network of ITCs further and to reach out to even remote communities. In 2006 the first ITC across the lake on the Zambian side of the Zambezi Valley at Sinazongwe Basic School was established.

Map of the area

First Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Day

Report Written By: Richard Simango, Tonga Online, Binga

Report PDF

Tonga Online carries out some minimal maintenance chores for the Binga community.
During these activities it was discovered that some people use certain software packages
at a high cost due to their lack of knowledge of the existence of cheaper alternatives.
Some individuals even use software without proper licenses-piracy. Tonga Online
carried out a software publicity event, called Free/Open Source Software Day on the 13th
of December 2008, to educate the public on various options that exist around the use of

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Tonga.Online Training Activities in full swing

The first Training of Trainers of Teachers (TOTOT) workshop started today, 1st of December 2008 at Manjolo Secondary School. The participants for this workshop are drawn from Sianzyundu Secondary, Siachilaba Primary, Manjolo Primary and Manjolo Secondary Schools. The participants are being imparted with basic ICT skills to enable them carry out pedagogical training in schools. The workshop runs for three days from the 1st to the 3rd of December 2008.

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Rotary Club Linz supporting remote Binga schools with solar power for ITCs

The Rotary Club Linz South, with incoming President Klaus Hötzenecker as a key player, is keen to support the establishment of solar power generation for the three secondary schools in Binga district  lacking access to electricity. The three remote schools are Siabuwa, Chunga and Lubimbi and they should be addressed in three stages 2008-10, one school per year, encompassing water heating and electricity for the ITCs.

Meanwhile the Rotary club Linz South has received assistance and the required paperwork from its local counterpart, Rotary club Bulawayo Belmont and is now preparing for submission to Rotary international for a top up grant to be due in the second half of 2008. The Rotary Club Linz has launched some very successful fund raising activities recently like an art auction where photographs from the Tonga area were also on display.

Tonga.Online is very glad for such support for the Tonga community and the expansion of the network of ITCs. The project has been asked to commit itself to support and monitor the establishment of the solar power installations and to provide for technical assistance and capacity building measures.

Stakeholder update: December 2007

As the year drew to a close and schools shifted their focus to the National and internal examinations, there was less activity in the form of workshops for ITCs in the month  of November. In the same month, Tonga.Online shifted offices to occupy the more spacious and more easily accessible space at the community library. This move is also in preparation for the wireless equipment that should greatly enhance the communication and connectivity in the district.

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