Monday, April 19, 2010

Successful launch

First of all some complaining: following weekend after weekend tied to the sofa due to either sciatic, leg pains or lately surgery wound on the left foot I think I could have deserved a "mobile" weekend. That is when I go down with a flu and cough of a lifetime... So once more this a report from the sofa at 3 Ussher Close Harare.

Since 2006 I have on and off worked with a project in Tongogara, near Shurugwi in the middle of Zimbabwe. This involves creating a cooperative society out of the members of an earlier project and then assist them in setting up a functional business in the shape of a "Telecentre", a combination of copy-, phone-, computer- and internetshop. After years of struggling to "outlast" things such as hyperinflation, no electricity supplies etc. we could last year finally put the wheels in motion and deliver copier and computers. Following that training on computers (Linux OS Kubuntu and other FOSS software of course) was done and the centre opened and quickly became very popular in the area. Note we are talking about a place where before this the nearest place to make a photocopy or such is around 60 km and a day of travelling away.

Following the success I/we noted that mobile internet worked at the site and decided to go "all out" and install internet and have a "grand opening launch" with various politicians, local chiefs and the Swedish Ambassador invited. Since then me and colleague Arnold have been travelling down to Tongogara every week and this last week we were basically on site the whole week.

It was a lot of hard work but the launch on Thursday was really successful and we had both TV and newspapers plus around a 100 guests attending.

For me it felt GREAT to see something I strongly believe in and have worked with since 2006 come to a successful completion. I myself pay tribute to the people in Tongogara who never gave up as well as to my project-partner Arnold, myself and SCC ROSA.

Just wish I knew if we were on the news as Arnold, a colleague from Ministry of SME and Cooperatives and myself ended up in a put mildly dingy guesthouse in Kwekwe on our way to Gokwe and next Telecentre on the night following the launch. No choice of channels on the TV there... but nice to enjoy the euphoria of a successful ending of a project.

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