By Stephen Ephraem
THE lament by Chipinge and Chimanimani based cultural tourism industry that poor mobile network is seriously affecting their operations in rural areas can soon become a thing of past as the young innovative invent solution.
Post On Sunday recently carried a survey in Chipinge to find out on the availability of network in some areas and how it is affetcting dissemination of information, social life and cultural tourism.
To that effect young interprenures and innovators find no rest as they come up with ideas and inventions to help in the challenge that the country face in its peripheral areas.
A case study is that of Mtetwa Wamuka Cultural Symposium which operates from Mabee 55km from Checheche Growth point is bankrolled by Marcia Moyana, the widow of the late former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Kombo Moyana.
The symposium has members who reside at Makoho, Garahwa, Chidima, Marega, Chinyamukwakwa, Mashubi and Chenjihaibuwi.
Depending on which area one lives, the area accesses mobile network from a base station either at Checheche Growth Point or one at Arda Chisumbanje Estate where Greenfuel is operating.
This translates to very poor network for the symposium.
This publication however engaged two electronic engineers to find out if there might be a short-to-medium term solution to the challenges that are currently rocking most rural areas as far as poor mobile network is concerned.
Chipinge born Donald Mazwati Mlambo, (29) robot and drone engineer whose talent was exposed during a government funded digitalisation programme, ZimDigital came to Chipinge in 2017.
Mlambo owns Robotron Electronic Systems Academy at 10 Coucal Drive, Mandara in Harare and is optimistic that drone technology is what the future is waiting for.
“Drones installed with network equipment can be used to compliment network base stations which are already erected by mobile service providers.
What we are simply saying here is that instead of building a base station, the service provider can make use of drones as network boosters.
“In the case of Mabee, a drone installed with network equipment can be stationed at Munepasi, a second one at Garahwa and another at Mashubi. This will ensure that the whole area from Checheche to Mabee and Chisuma will be covered with strong network coverage.
“My opinion might appear senseless right now if one considers that drone batteries can go off. What we have to do is to empower students in the rural areas with drone technology so that they can modify network drones to harness alternative power, especially solar to charge the machines.
“Zimbabwe should benefit from our program which is called Dream Fliers which I partnered with Innocent Mafusire of Kimtronics Global.
We are descending onto Chipinge and Chiredzi for pilot projects as soon as schools start to operate in full swing,” said Mlambo.
Innocent Mafusire (29) a First Class Degree in Electronic Engineering with Harare Institute of Technology who hails from Chiredzi and is the owner of Kimtronics Global housed at Karigamombe Centre in Harare, weighed in to Mlambo’s opinion.
“Drones are the short to medium term solutions to poor mobile networks. We can’t do away with existing technology but we have to improvise and modernise technology. Drones should be our focal point to ease network challenges.
“Coincidentally, before lockdown restrictions, my company had already introduced electronic engineering lessons to students who came to our workshop at Karigamombe Centre to acquire robotics, quadcopter and drone engineering knowledge for free.
“I also paid school fees for a few Advanced Level students who are keen in electronic engineering so that they can also help fellow students in the rural areas to solve technological problems like those of mobile network.
“We have already finished the preproduction of a 13 episode television series in which we shall give lectures on basic robot and drone making skills using vernacular languages. Thereafter, we shall hold practical lessons with rural students starting with Chipinge and Chiredzi,” said Mafusire.