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POTRAZ In Overdrive To Include PWDs Into ICT Systems

By Faith Chimutsa

As part of efforts to enhance inclusivity in the information age, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) in association with the Government of Zimbabwe, Internet Society Zimbabwe, Department of Disability Affairs in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare has recently hosted an ICT training workshop for people living with disability in Chinhoyi.

Speaking to Post On Sunday Newspaper, on behalf of POTRAZ Director General Dr Gift Kalisto Machengete, Director Universal Services Fund (USF) Mr Kennedy Dewera revealed that their primary target is to train a total of 30 individuals with disabilities in each and every rural province in Zimbabwe.

“Resources permitting, we are targeting to train 240 people with disabilities and visual impairment in eight provinces,” said Dewera.

He further highlighted on the wisdom behind the initiative is to bridge the digital information gap between abled-bodied and people living with disabilities.

Universal Services Fund (USF) is working with various institutions that deal with people with disabilities to provide ICT gadgets and software that is required to assist in the education of people with disabilities as provided for in terms of the Postal and Telecommunication Act Chapter 12.05.

POTRAZ has been funding various programmes targeted at people with disabilities by provision of internet connectivity to institutions, procurement of ICT gadgets such as computers, projectors, procurement of equipment used for programming hearing aids and provision of software for the visually impaired.

One of the workshop beneficiaries, Browtter Chanetsa, who works as teacher at Chegutu Blind School revealed the training workshop will go a long way in enabling people with disabilities to access information for their personal development.

“This ICT training programme organised by POTRAZ through the Universal Services Fund has benefited us a lot as we are now able to access and use information, to interact as well as for training and employment opportunities, said Chanetsa.

He also added that ICT training programmes for people with visual impairment and albinism enhance technological literacy and promote integration and inclusion of disadvantaged groups in community developmental programmes.

“This programme has helped us to easily access to the curriculum and to support learning, it also enables our trainers to advance their training skills,” he added.

Dephine Chirimbano, another beneficiary of the training workshop, thanked POTRAZ for the kind gesture and making ICT programme a success.

“As one of the beneficiaries, I have greatly benefited from the ICT training programme for people with disabilities and I will be very much excited if this noble programme could be extended to more young people like me so that they will be equipped with new technological skills. I am confident that I am at par with my fellow young people without disabilities and I can now interact with them without any hustle in this global village. Without this training, this was not going to be possible,” said Chirimbano.

Participants were awarded with certificates of completion.