Feasibility Study Feedback meeting

The first feedback workshop on the feasibility study on Internet connectivity and human and organization e-readiness was held on the 21st of September 2007 in Binga, Zimbabwe. The purpose of the workshop was to share and deliberate on the outcome of the feasibility study which was conducted by Tonga.Online Project from January to June 2007. After some discussions, the participants advised Tonga.Online on how it should proceed with the ICT development in the district followed.

The workshop was attended by the members of the Science and Technology Subcommittee of Rural District Development Committee in Binga District. Among the attendees were also the School heads from secondary, high schools and three Primary schools with Information Technology Centres.

Opening statement was delivered by Mr Bwaami Barnabas Munkuli, the Binga Rural district Council Administrator who represented the Chief Executive Officer.  In his opening statement, Mr Bwaami Barnabas Munkuli emphasised the importance of ICT and the need to bridge the digital divide between high-tech and low-tech countries but also within countries, between age groups and gender, rich and poor people, between urban and rural dwellers among other things.

“....... Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) provide the raw materials for growth: new social, cultural and economic services, applications and infrastructure. As such, ICT continues to play a crucial role in bringing people and their communities together, giving new expression to cultural identity, providing public and commercial services, sharing ideas in research and innovation and driving productivity growth………….”.

Mr Bwaami .B Munkuli- Council Administrator giving the  an  opening statement.

The official opening of the workshop followed by giving background information to the study and subsequently reviewing of the report in terms of the layout and the content. Working groups were formed after the  report review presentation. Issues discussed in the working groups were grouped into four areas.

  • Group I - Cluster requirements
  • Group 2- Phase two infrastructure requirement
  • Group 3- Networked Learning and Society
  • Group 4- Networked Policy and Gender issues in ICT.

In addition to the direct assigned topic to the groups, they were also tasked to  look at the infrastructure development.

Although the time allotted for discussion was found limited in view of the complexity of the issues, the groups made good progress in examining the five theme areas.

The session that followed was the presentation of results of the discussions of the four groups and plenary session where members asked different questions and came up with suggestions and recommendations.

Issue of paramount importance which emerged during the discussions were:-

  • Project should be implemented within the existing policy framework and laws of Zimbabwe.
  • Tonga.Online should address the security concerns as demanded by the recently enacted Information Monitoring Act.
  • developing comprehensive mechanisms for treating gender issues in all  programmes
  • The development of sufficient quantities (and quality) of ICT skills in a district must be given a very high priority.  The approach must consider exposure of students to information and communication technologies from the elementary through to the tertiary levels.  
  • The implementation phase needs to be clearly spelt out with concrete dates to assist stakeholders and users and to measure tangible impacts.
  • Stakeholder must be appraised of the progress attained through a similar forum.

Pottar Muzamba
Project Director