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

Stakeholders Update April 2005

The project's approach to community development is a serious and long term commitment. With limited resources at hand we are addressing the gap between the marginalized and the developed communities in the areas of education, information & technology, music and culture development. These sustainable developments require commitment from the community as opposed to handout programs that have stencilled dependency syndrome. We therefore appeal for more support and commitment from all stakeholders.

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Stakeholders Update May 2006

Binga continues to have heavy rains almost daily. The rains sometimes come with harsh thunder and lightning that affects the whole district with power cuts and bad telephone networks. Most roads around the district have been destroyed, and after the season, will be very costly to maintain as confirmed by the servicing departments who failed to do the required road works last year due to lack of funding and fuel.

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Stakeholders Update August 2003

CURRENT STATUS - The ITC continues to be extremely busy throughout the week, closing only on Sundays. There now needs to be more careful planning of courses and opportunities for general public use. Other areas of the day-to-day running of the centre are also being monitored and changes made where necessary.

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Stakeholders Update December 2003

Binga ITC – Third Term activities - The third term of 2003 has been very busy at the High School, with end-of-year examinations in full swing, and the big event for the ITC being the visit in September of Austria-Zimbabwe Friendship Association (AZFA) chairperson, Peter Kuthan, and the Computer & Music workshop facilitated by Klaus Hollinetz (Austria) and Keith Goddard (Zimbabwe). Since July the ITC has introduced a special opening on Saturday mornings to accommodate working mothers and women who cannot attend courses in the evenings. The additional opening time has proved popular for both men and women. At the end of November we welcomed Dominic Muntanga who visited Binga after some considerable time, and who has been instrumental in setting up this project. He is now working hard to find support for deserving A Level students at Binga High. Twamutambula Dominic, and Twalumba also!

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