The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has set its eyes on closing the information communication technology (ICT) gap between the urban and rural populace by facilitating access to services through the establishment of containerised community information centres in villages.

According to POTRAZ Director General, Dr Gift Machengete, the regulatory authority intends to establish about 40 containerised information centres in rural settlements this year, targeting areas with high traffic to justify provision of such service.

“24 of the 40 centres will be established within the next 2 months, in a move aimed at achieving universal access to ICT services by underserved communities. To date, 83 community information centres have been established around the country, where they are offering services such as training in computer skills,” said Dr Machengete, who had toured Chinhoyi Community Information Centre.

In Chinhoyi, 700 people have received free training in ICTs since August last year and demand for the service is said to be very high.

Among those receiving training at the centre is 71 year old Mr Willie Nyambi and a 63 year old famer, Mr Pondak Makina from Chikuti.

Both said they want to acquire computer literacy skills so they can benefit from ICTs in the digital age.

Community information centres have also brought joy to kids who can now spend time playing computer based games and on play stations.

12 year old Tatenda Mudiriza said such facilities are a delight for him and his peers, who would otherwise be confined in their homes doing nothing.

Over 8140 people have been trained in computer skills at various community information centres throughout the country.

The centres are being funded through the Universal Service Fund, which is supported through a levy on postal and telecommunication service operators’ earnings.