The Tigwilizane Women’s Foundation TeleCentre in Chipata (Zambia) was established as an initiative of a team of Zambian women (led by Mrs. Dorothy Tembo) who had a desire to provide a one stop business centre for the rural community of Chipata. From the onset it is important to state that the Centre was provided as an income-generating venture to assist the Foundation achieve its primary goal of providing information to rural communities and empowering women and children within its area of jurisdiction.
It is for this reason that the following remain the primary objectives of the TeleCentre:
Achievements and Market Analysis
From inception in the year 2005, the Centre was the main provider of internet facilities and other business centre facilities in Chipata. Consequently its main clientele had started appreciating the services and regarded internet for example, as synonymous with the Tigwilizane TeleCentre. A layman’s assessment would have put Tigwilizane as a market leader then with a share of perhaps 75 % of the market in as far as internet was concerned. Revenues then were quite substantial and hence it was a worthwhile investment. Among the services were internet, photocopying, typing and processing letters, reports and other documents for the clients, scanning, fax service, binding, laminating and many other related services.
Among our major clients at the peak of our operations were international tourists (wanting to keep in touch with their homes), local traders, contractors, students, lecturers, and institutions including the Government. In fact even today the main clients for the business centre still remain the groups mentioned above. Tigwilizane, despite facing these challenges, has managed to keep operating due to our dedicated members who have a passion to continue providing these services to the Community so as to contribute to the development of our Country and reducing poverty in our communities. ICTs are a prerequisite to Economic and Social development in our communities and should be allowed to grow. Tigwilizane therefore took the initiative to earn alternative Income in the following ways:
1. Tigwilizane engaged two volunteer expert computer technicians to repair and service Computers at different Government Departments. We were fortunate to carry out some works with The Department of Social welfare, Department of Community Development, Department of veterinary and live Stock Development, Zambia Railways, Road Development Agency and Individuals from the general Community.
2. Tigwilizane through its Volunteer Computer Technicians, managed to carry out a one (1) week Basic Internet appreciation course for Chipata Teacher College for forty (40) lecturers. More individuals in the community would like to get training from Tigwilizane except that they request a Certificate of which we are not registered with TEVETA.
Tigwilizane successfully organized and hosted the 24th October, 2009 Independence cup tournament. The first ever in chipata with prizes awarded to the deserving teams. The tournament constituted with teams in Football, Volley and Netball
Beginning the year 2008/ 2009 a number of business persons had started venturing into opening business centres within Chipata. The new competition provided meant that we had to improve certain aspects of our operations. Among our key competitors were Sundi Cyber Café and Nokamu Business Centre. What is key for these two main competitors is the fact that they have done major capital investments and have much more modern equipment. Obviously this meant that Tigwilizane was at a disadvantage unless with serious injection of capital. In the next Section we shall discuss the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities that exist in the market.
Strengths of the centre
All these peripherals have been in use on a daily basis since 2006 without replacement. This meant we had to shut down operations at times for days while waiting for repairs therefore losing Income.
The main threat may be the establishment of other business centers providing similar services. However, this threat can still be mitigated in the fact that all the other major Centres have the disadvantage of limitations in opening hours. For example, the Sundi Cyber Café is closed according to the time of prayer for the owners who are Moslems; Nokamu is also closed on Saturday due to religious reasons for the owners while during the week they have to close by 17.00hours as the premises also caters for a FOREX Bureau which has to comply with Bank of Zambia Regulations as regards to opening times. We therefore intend to take full advantage of our opening times to cater for workers who knock off from work after 17.00hours as well as those who are able to use our services on weekends.
A forecast of the future
The business outlook is quite promising. Our vision is to be the market leader while still ensuring that we do not lose focus on the overall mission of the Centre which is to provide a reliable one-stop TeleCentre whereby all key services shall be provided by the Tigwilizane Business Centre.
Our strategy to achieve our primary goals is to ensure that we are fully equipped with the latest equipment, provide a unique and differentiated service and ensure that we run the Centre on professional lines.