MINISTRY OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AND CYBER SECURITY

Establishment of Community Information Centers (CICs)

The Ministry of ICT and Cyber Security, in its endeavor to ensure that the uptake of ICTs is spread to even the previously marginalized communities and that ICTs are used as a vehicle for development, embarked on a project of establishing Community Information Centers (CICs) country wide. The project is being implemented in collaboration with Zimpost, Post Properties and POTRAZ. To date eighty-seven (87) CICs have been established in all the Provinces and are at various stages of completion. Twenty-four (24) of these CICs namely, Lupane, Maphisa, Jahunda, Plumtree, Gweru, Gokwe, Mupandawana, Chikato, Glendale, Muzarabani, Rushinga, Bindura, Chinhoyi, Murombedzi, Mrewa, Mutoko, Nyanga, Dangamvura, Rusape, Nedziwe, Epworth, Sadza, Mubaira and Nhulumane are operational.  Nine (9) of these were launched by the former President, Cde. R.G. Mugabe. These include Murombedzi, Chikato, Dangamvura, Lupane, Chinhoyi, Bindura, Jahunda, Gweru and Nhulumane.

 Establishment of community information centers (CIC)

 CONCEPT NOTE

 Index 

1. Introduction

2. Rationale

4. Background

5. Project Definition

5. Objectives of setting up CICs

6. Targeted Audience

7. Project Specifications 

8. Infrastructure & Components

9. Projected cost of setting up a CIC

10. Infrastructure model

11. Roll out strategy

12. Key Stakeholders

13. Sustainability of CICs

 Introduction

One of the major problems facing African rural communities in the socio-economic field is the limited access to relevant information on a continuous basis about health, education, economy, transport, agriculture, market access and current updates on each of these. Hence participation by the rural community in the development of the country is limited.

In the economic arena, the rural community plays a vital role in food production as well as in business activities.  Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) widen the horizons of the rural community, by giving them an understanding of global issues and regional integration and more importantly the impact of ICTs at the national and local levels. If the rural community has access to ICTs, their awareness is increased and they will participate effectively in the socio-economic development process.

Access to information on what is happening in other communities would enable them to share experiences and help decision-makers to link macro-economic policy-making to grassroots initiatives. ICTs would also avail information relevant to agricultural production, processing, marketing, food transport and storage, education, healthcare, disease control as well as environmental management.

Access to information is important. People need information to develop their potential through education and training, to succeed in business, to enrich their cultural experience, and to take control of their daily lives. Information is a key contributor to the development of individuals and communities.

 Rationale 

The common purpose that underlies the establishment of Community Information Centers (CICs) is to achieve equality of access to information; or, at least, to reduce levels of inequality. The importance of information has grown in recent years with the transition to information- and knowledge-based communities. Information Communication Technology is a powerful force of socio-economic changes in developing countries, hence the need to set up Community Information Centers in rural Areas so that everyone has access to Information and to the global village. 

 Information is a key contributor to the development of individuals and communities, hence the need to set up CICs in rural communities so as to enable everyone access to information and to the global village.

These centers are intended to stimulate growth and job creation and serve as electronic libraries where people from remotely located areas can look for information pertaining to farming, education and health care to mention a few. Community Information Centers are meant to be one stop ICT access points. They will not only serve as e-Government access points once e- Government is operational but will also share an underlying purpose of achieving equality of access to information, or, at least, to reduce levels of inequality.

Background 

ZIMPOST’s vision is to be the universal facilitator of postal, communication and financial services. For many years, the ZIMPOST’s core business has been delivery of mail, parcels and other postal items. In recent years, ZIMPOST has progressively diversified to new innovative products and services such as, internet-based communication, sale of stationery, local and international money transfer services, direct mail services, mailroom management services, motor vehicle registration, sale of motor vehicle number plates, airtime sales, among others. These initiatives have enabled the company to pull through the past harsh economic environment. 

The Ministry of ICT desires to ensure that uptake of ICTs is spread to even the previously marginalized communities so that ICTs may be used as a vehicle for development. It is against this background that Zimpost and the Ministry of ICT are partnering in the deployment of Community Information Centers (CICs). 

 Project Definition

CICs refer to a facility in a community, which will provide a platform for access to various e-enabled services such as information for public consumption (e-government services), telephony, printing, faxing and photocopying services, imaging, document lamination services, internet and e-mail services, recreational (gaming) services and e-learning services among others. CICs are a means to use the benefits of ICTs to raise the socio-economic conditions of the people of Zimbabwe particularly those in the rural areas.

Objectives of setting up CICs:

•To enhance equitable access to Government information

•To create a platform for knowledge sharing

•To bridge the digital divide

•To improve market access through e-Commerce

•To enhance communication through internet based services such as e-mail.

 Targeted Audience

•Ordinary people in rural areas

•Farmers

•Students from institutions

•Entrepreneurs

•Tourists

•Pensioners

•Civil servants working in rural areas 

•Retirees

•Physically challenged people

Project Specifications

•In order to be competitive the following attributes must be part of the CICs ;

•Reliable hardware computer equipment

•Reliable bandwidth (high speed bandwidth) 

•Reliable ICT and customer service support

•Technological recreational facilities e.g. video games 

•Reliable power source (solar systems, generators etc.)

•Robust security to prevent break-ins

•Appealing designs of the interior

•Flexible opening and closing hours

Infrastructure and Components 

•High speed Internet link to each center

•Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) hot spots to cater for private browsing and mobile users 

•At least 20 (19 for internet and 1 for secretarial services) desktop machines per site

•24 port 10/100/1000 Mbps LAN image switches (Cisco Catalyst 2960 Switches)

•Category 6 cables for local café LAN

•Operating system software

•Multifunction Printers

•Gaming equipment

•Scanners

•Document binders and laminators

•Digital cameras                            

 Roll out strategy

  The ten pilot CICs shall be established at the sites mentioned beneath in the eight provinces-:

Centre NameProvince

MubairaMashonaland West 

MurombedziMashonaland West

MutokoMashonaland East

Sadza     Mashonaland East

MaphisaMatabeleland South 

LupaneMatabeleland North

DotitoMashonaland Central

GutuMasvingo

GokweMidlands

Rusape  Manicaland 

 Key Stakeholders

 These include-:

•Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC)

•Parliament of Zimbabwe

•All Government Ministries

•Zarnet

•Government Internet Service Provider (GISP)

•District Administrators 

•Chiefs

•Councilors

•Village Heads

Sustainability of Community Information Centers

The sustainability of CICs depends on the long-term commitment of key staff, the long-term stability of finance, and the ability to remain relevant to community needs. There is need to recognize that providing communities with an acceptable level of access to information and ICT is as important as providing them with access to schools, clinics, the road network and the transport system. Certainly, that recognition has to be backed with a commitment to fund the services.

 The CICs will be manned by ZIMPOST and in order to keep the CICs financially viable, sustainable and even profitable the following measures were put in place:

 •ZIMPOST has already started conducting massive marketing campaign so as to ensure maximum utilization of the services by the community.

 •The Ministry and ZIMPOST will continue to establish CICs in response to needs within the communities that they serve.

 •With the charismatic leadership from ZIMPOST, strong support from the community and adequate finance, the sustainability of CICs is guaranteed.

 •A nominal fee will be charged for the services that will be rendered. 

 •The Ministry will be pay for bandwidth costs and consumables for the established CICs for three (3) consecutive months from the date of inception of each CIC to enable the CIC to generate income to sustain itself.

 A management Committee which is comprised of at least two senior Officers from both Ministry and Zimpost will be assigned to oversee the running of the established CICs for the first two years. Quarterly visits will be conducted to every established CIC so as to monitor its operations. The CICs will also be audited by Auditors from both parties

COLLAGE OF THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF CIC BY FORMER PRESIDENT CDE R G MUGABE

                                                           

ICT Basics Training at Murombedzi CIC                                              

 

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