• October 1st, 2020

Information centre volunteers in plea for help

Hilma Hashange

SCHLIP – Information deputy minister, Emma Theofelus, who is currently on a national familiarisation mission, recently visited the ministry’s multipurpose centre in Schlip in  Rehoboth Rural constituency to assess its operations.
Multipurpose centres, which are run by volunteers, are administered by the ministry’s regional offices countrywide and are aimed at making information and communication technology in a multi-media format accessible to all the communities, including those in rural areas as well as those who cannot read and write. 

The centres were established in 13 regions in 2013 and are fully equipped with state-of-the-art ICT equipment.
The centre’s volunteer, Ricky Jacobs, outlined the day-to-day activities of the centre and explained to the deputy minister the challenges the volunteers face. 

He said that because the centre is operated by volunteers without any remuneration, many of them tend to leave the centre for greener pastures.
“We were four groups who received training since 2015 but others have left. I can understand why they left to look for jobs because it can get tough sometimes and we can’t always depend on our parents, we need to grow but because of lack of education, we are still here,” Jacobs said.

He suggested that one way the ministry can assist the volunteers is by offering scholarships and by supplying them with basic needs such as toiletries, which he said many of them struggle to afford.

“We also have challenges with the poor network. We have a 4G but it is very slow, you can’t do anything. We also do not generate enough income because of a lack of community support. When we submit our quarterly reports, there is no financial report. If the ministry can buy us more computers we can give computer classes where we can get a little income and maintain our equipment,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs, however, said that against all odds, the volunteers continue to inform the communities through the centre, adding that since the Covid-19 pandemic started, the volunteers have created a page on social media to inform the masses regarding the pandemic such as precautionary measures to take to avoid the further spread of the virus amongst the Schlip community.

Information ministry Hardap regional head Treasure Kauzuu-Tjizera shared the same sentiments as Jacobs and informed the deputy minister about the struggles of the volunteers when it comes to transporting the equipment hired out, such as the public address system. She applauded Jacobs and his team for taking good care of the equipment under the circumstances.

Kauzuu-Tjizera added that because the volunteers are the representatives of the ministry at the respective centres, the regional office is mandated to offer annual ICT training to the volunteers in order to equip them with the necessary skills to carry out their activities efficiently. 
The deputy minister Theofelus commended the volunteers for the work done and assured them that their work will not go unnoticed. She highlighted the fact that volunteers not being remunerated will be a thing of the past. 

“The minister gave a directive to the division of audiovisual in the ministry to come up with proposals as to how we can remunerate the volunteers at the different centres, so I can say this has already been taken up. So you as volunteers can continue taking care of the [centres] so that they either do not become white elephants or die completely,” said the deputy minister.

Theofelus added that although there still exists similar challenges at all the centres countrywide, she was glad to see that the constituency offices are helpful towards the centres for them to be able to serve their purpose. “I think the ministry has done well, the centres were meant to bring services closer to the people; to a big extent, that objective is being met, we just need to improve so that the services continue reaching the people,” she said.

Staff Reporter
2020-08-12 09:01:14 | 1 months ago

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