NCDPZ applauds POTRAZ for ICT skills training

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready…

Writes Hopewell Chibvongodze

The National Council of the Disabled Persons of Zimbabwe (NCDPZ) has applauded the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) for equipping people with disabilities with ICT skills.

NCDPZ Rushinga branch chairperson, Tobias Mdlozera recently told a training session in Bindura, Mashonaland Central, that the training and the skills gained will help build more understanding of how ICT impacts the different types of disabilities and increase accessibility to features and tools built into technology platforms.

POTRAZ has been training people with disabilities throughout the country in basic digital skills since last year through its Universal Services Fund (USF) department with the assistance of the Internet Society and 337 have benefited so far.

The USF is a pool of funds that companies in the sector contribute (about 1.5 percent of their gross annual turnover), which is used to provide telecommunications services in underserved areas of Zimbabwe.

“This training, ladies and gentlemen could not have come at the right time as the world is now digitizing and the use of technology can no longer go unnoticed. With each day that comes, the use of technology keeps growing hence for us, persons with disabilities we welcomed this training with open arms as it seeks to empower individuals with disabilities to fully participate in the digital world, enhance their independence, and improve their quality of life,” Mdlozera said.

He said the beneficiaries have attained skills and developed strategies for navigating websites, applications, and digital content, practicing communication and collaboration skills using ICT tools, and exploring job opportunities and accommodations in the digital workforce for individuals with disabilities.

He said they have received several WIFI gadgets across all provinces for use by persons with disabilities of which Mashonaland Central got two installed in Rushinga and Mt. Darwin.

“Under this, I call upon POTRAZ to also consider extension on the data for WIFI gadgets and distribution of assistive devices such as laptops and smartphones so that these WIFI gadgets can be put to maximum use by persons with disabilities whose majority cannot afford data and purchase of appropriate devices,” he said adding that it has to be remembered that technology has the power to enable everyone to reach their full potential thus creating a more inclusive and accessible digital world for all.

Provinces covered by the training so far include Manicaland, Mashonaland West, and Midlands, where 30 people each were trained while 67 were trained in Bulawayo and 32 in Mashonaland Central.