Q - CFZS have been in operation since 2001, and they've been working with ITSA for 5 years now. How did you first become involved with the charity?
Boni - I became involved when CFZS, in collaboration with ITSA, when they were hiring a Programme Manager earlier this year.
Q - What would you say are your key responsibilities as Programme Manager?
Boni - My responsibilities are vast, they include:
- Clearing shipments - ensuring containers are cleared in line with country policies - liaising between transporters, clearing agents, both here in Zambia and in the UK
- Managing CFZS personnel - ensuring that my team of 3 technicians and 2 interns are efficiently carrying out their duties. These duties include: testing machines, serving customers and office work - where I currently work with one of our interns.
- Communicating - this can be with stakeholders including Ministries and Local District Boards. I communicate with them for a range of reasons, for example informing them of any changes and the arrival of containers etc. I also liaise with ITSA and my Zambia Board to highlight any issues that may either pose as a risk or an opportunity to us.
- Recycling - any IT equipment that is brought back to us needs to be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner.
- Marketing - our educational software and teacher training
Q - What is the most rewarding thing about working for CFZS?
Boni - There is such a dire need for affordable computers in Zambia, so when we tell customers what we charge they are always ecstatic. When we inform them of the additional services we offer such as - free printers, speakers and educational software their expressions make my job worth it.
Q - In the future what challenges do you predict the charity will face?
- Recycling - there will need to be a focus on the affordable recycling of computers. At the moment we send our computers to South Africa to be recycled, this comes at a considerable expense.
- Monitoring + Evaluating - for us to progress, it would be ideal if we could assess the impact of our computer sales by tracking success stories. From this we could evaluate why they are successful and duplicate the success, as well as working on any issues that were identified in monitoring.
Q - How does the work carried out in the UK by ITSA, link to the work your team are doing at CFZS?
Boni - ITSA have been a good partner and team player with CFZS, and play an important part in sourcing affordable stock. The prison programme, that works very well in the UK, is something we are looking into to see if this could work in Zambia as well.
Q - How much of an impact does the work you're doing have on schools in Zambia?
Boni - Over 500 schools are now able to sit their ICT exams because CFZS have supplied them with the needed equipment. It is not just the schools that benefit, some of our former employees have left to set up their own successful businesses as well.
Thanks for taking the time to give an insight into life as a Programme Manager for Computers for Zambian Schools, Boni! Read more about Zambia.