The Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services Dr Jenfan Muswere on Friday officially handed over the 146th Community Information Centre to the Victoria Falls community.
By Tongai Mwenje
Chinotimba Community Information Centre is one of the one hundred and forty six (146) Community Information Centres established in the ten (10) Provinces of Zimbabwe.
The facility, is aimed at empowering the local community with digital skills.
The initiative, birthed more than five years ago also aims to bridge the digital divide between the rural and urban people.
Speaking during the handover ceremony, the Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services Dr Jenfan Muswere who was also the guest of honour said, “…I am highly honoured to preside over the official launch of Chinotimba Community Information Centre (CIC), here in Matabeleland North Province. Whilst Chinotimba CIC has been operating, it had not been officially handed over to the local community and we saw it necessary, Honourable Minister, that despite the COVID-19 induced lockdown, we make the operationalisation of this facility official, by gracing it with an official launch.”
The event comes at a time the country is grappling with COVID-19 pandemic. This enables the local community to access critical information in the wake of the virus.
Few days ago, the Minister also commissioned Sanyati Community Information Centre in Mashonaland West province.
“Like I said in Sanyati on Monday, when we gathered there for a similar event, Government has identified ICTs as one of the pillars and cornerstones for economic development, and Community Information Centres play an enabling role in our quest to provide access to ICTs to the citizenry, especially those in remote and underserved areas of the country. As a Ministry we have a mandate to ensure that all Zimbabweans have access to ICTs and basic ICT literacy, regardless of their social or economic standing, or their geographical location.”
“If we are to make effective use of ICTs and other emerging technologies, as a country, the right skills and competencies must be in place at all levels. Growth in this sector can only be achieved when we have a large pool of qualified personnel in the different spheres of the ICT industry. I therefore, call upon our youths to take up studies in the different disciplines in the ICT sector and to make use of the facilities we are commissioning today to conduct research when doing their homework and when preparing for their examinations.”
In a speech read on his behalf by the Potraz deputy director general Mr Alfred Marisa , the Potraz DG Dr Gift Machengete said, “To date, one hundred and fourteen (114) of these Community Information Centres are already operating, with fourteen (14) of them providing free training in the use of computers to members of the community. Work is currently underway to ensure that all the remaining Community Information Centres are operational by year-end.
In support of the Government policy to provide access to Information Communication Technology (ICT) and postal services to all the people of Zimbabwe, POTRAZ came up with the concept of Community Information Centres, which are housed at Post Offices throughout the country. In places where there are no post offices, or where the post offices were too small to accommodate a Community Information Centre, POTRAZ has deployed a special type of Community Information Centre known as Containerised Village Information Centres (CVIC). These are temporary structures that are modular and easy to fabricate and deploy compared to permanent structures at post offices. CVICs can therefore, be easily moved from one area to another if the need arises. To date, a total of 24 CVICs have been deployed in all the country’s provinces and 5 of these are operational. It is also our desire to operationalise all the remaining CVICs before the end of this year.”
The event which also witnessed the donation of 30 computers to Chidobe Primary school, Ndlovu Secondary school
and Neshaya secondary school was attended by the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Matabeleland North Province, Hon. Richard Moyo, the Deputy Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services, Hon. Dr. Dingimuzi Phuti,
Senior Government Official, Service Chiefs,
Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Dr Engineer Sam Kundishora,
CEOs of Postal and Telecommunications Sector players,
Local leadership and members of Media fraternity.