COBLENZ/TSUMKWE – The Ministry of Information and Technology (MICT) has sponsored the communities of Tsumkwe and Coblenz with multimedia equipment worth N$1.65 million to establish multi-purpose community centres in their areas.
Each of the two received a public address system (PA), two speakers, a mixer, an amplifier, some microphones, a projection screen, a projector, a four-in-one multifunction printer, computer, photocopy machine, digital camera, 42 centimetre LCD television screen and a generator.
MICT’s Permanent Secretary Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana, who officiated at the handing over, said the equipment was acquired through the capital project titled ‘Education Audiovisual Network Consolidation’ to ensure that people living in rural communities in the Otjozondjupa Region would have access to such tools at an affordable price.
“The support for the establishment of MPCCs (Multi-Purpose Community Centres) in the remotest parts of the country is a crucial (and) essential element of national development strategies of the Swapo Party Government to bring ICT development to the doorsteps of the rural communities,” he said.
He said that communal communities are often characterized as information-poor, but poverty partly results from the lack of information or access to markets, farming, emergency health services, youth empowerment, access to education, bursary opportunities, development and the ability to take advantage to government services.
Ua-Ndjarakana emphasised the importance of information technology, saying that it was an unavoidable and urgently required tool to alleviate poverty to ensure improved information for communities to defend their rights and needs.
“Thus, the government of Namibia continues to create an environment conducive for growth of ICT,” he said, adding that rural communities could now apply their creative skills to use video camcorders to present their needs and potential solutions to policy makers.
Government with UNESCO’s assistance developed an MPCCs operational manual to improve the operations of and manage MPCCs in Namibia for the centres to become catalysts for community voices geared towards people centred development.
Local content is needed to address the needs of rural communities and promote active community involvement to preserve traditional knowledge, he said.
“We don’t know our history. We only talk about Omugulugwombashe, the Cassinga massacre and Independence Day which are being told and retold while there are other live histories,” he said, urging communities to take advantage of the equipment to capture the proud history of conservancies in the Tsumkwe constituency.
He said the equipment would also come in handy to tell stories of our ancestors, such as the German genocidal war in Namibia.
Ua-Ndjarakana pointed out that Namibian viewers resort to Nigerian movies that do not portray the Namibian reality and are not reflective of Namibian culture.
He further urged the youth to take advantage of the ICT equipment to promote entrepreneurship and innovation by visiting such centres regularly.
“The equipment will have no meaning unless they are being utilized,” he said.
Representing the Governor of Otjozondjupa, Samuel Nuuyoma, special advisor to the Governor, Rosalia Muashekele-Sibiya, implored the two communities to take care of the donated equipment for which they should take ownership and be accountable.
“If we don’t put it (the equipment) to good use, we won’t even miss it when it’s gone,” she said, adding each and every member of the community has to benefit.
She said that the community should not use the excuse that the media is not there while the cameras are there to record events happening.
By Magreth Nunuhe