From COTRAD Information Desk
The 2012 national census results showcased that 90% of the population in Masvingo lives in rural areas.
The existing information gap between rural and urban youths in Masvingo district was appalling. As an alternative, COTRAD established shared community access points better known as information centers which proved to be more economical as well as more effective in rural communities where a large rural population was facing not only network challenges but also insufficient financial resources to access necessary information.
These community information centers were established at public institutions such as clinics, schools and churches. In ward 18 Masvingo Central Constituency the information Centre was established at Shonganiso Primary School and this was during the term of office of the 2019 Shonganiso School Development Committee (SDC).
The information Centre was resourced with material relating to Local Government and Public Accountability as well as citizen engagement processes and other related information material.
This include but not limited to Masvingo RDC strategic/annual plans, budgets, auditor general reports on RDCs, full council minutes, Rural and Urban Council Acts, national constitution, local newspapers, ZLHR newsletters and parliamentary Hansard.
The 2020 SDC for Shonganiso Primary School disapproved the idea of having the information Centre at the school on frivolous and vexatious reasons. The SDC alleged that the public accountability information material was political.
In response COTRAD facilitated engagements between the Accountability Action Groups and community leaders on online and offline platforms to map a way forward. This included WhatsApp platforms, community dialogue meetings and community work parties.
An agreement to transfer and construct the information center at the COTRAD Mutirikwe Nursery was reached. The community mobilized resources and COTRAD facilitated AAGs to engage the local business community to fund with building material.
Local builders volunteered to build the information Centre for free. AAGs provided free labour throughout the construction of the information center; local business leaders pledged cement, timber and roofing material.
Below are pictures showcasing the developments upon which the Shonganiso Information Centre has progressed.