The deputy minister of Information and Communication Technology, Emma Theofelus, has called on business people and other stakeholders to provide financial assistance to multipurpose youth centres across the country.
Theofelus made the call during her recent stop in Omusati region as part of a countrywide familiarisation tour, visiting regional offices, including multipurpose community centres that are under the supervision of the information ministry.
While visiting the Oshifo multipurpose centre, the youthful deputy minister said such facilities play an important role in providing essential information and communication technology services, mostly to rural communities.
The centres operate with the assistance of volunteers from surrounding areas. While engaging with the volunteer at the centre, Theofelus commended them for their selfless service to the Oshifo community and the surrounding areas.
Theofelus is pleading with businesspeople and stakeholders countrywide to assist the centres with donations, as they play a big role in assisting people, especially in villages, to have access to ITC, she further encouraged and thanked the volunteers for a great job.
Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Theofelus was impressed with the Oshifo centre for their dedication and hard work.
The multipurpose centre has been operating for seven years with the help of two volunteers.
“The work that you are doing is impressive. These centres are very important, as they offer cheap services to the community. We need to strengthen it for it to function easily and for people to get the services they require,” said Theofelus, who implored the business community to assist the centre.
The volunteers are currently facing challenges, as they have no salaries and they have to depend on the little they make from renting out the PA systems: printing and making copies for the community – unfortunately, at the moment, clients have been scarce.
Naapopye Ndunge, who has been volunteering at the centre since 2013, pleaded with the deputy minister to help them reach out to the right people so they can have a monthly salary.
Ndunge said they get a stipend of about N$300, which is hardly enough for anything.
She also called for regular servicing of equipment, including photocopying machines to avoid breakdowns, which might slow down service delivery.
Theofelus advised the staff at the centre to be more creative, including making use of the Television set at the centre by showcasing educational videos on issues including the gender-based violence and other entertainment programmes like sports to the community.
* Johanna Kafo and Kape Aluteni are intern information officers at MICT.