by Andy Kozlov
Back in April 2011, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Office in Harare approved a US$26, 000 funding request by the Harare Polytechnic’s mass communication department. The funds will be used to buy modern media equipment to improve the capacities of the department.
“The department made an earlier request for funding to the organisation, which has been approved by the Unesco headquarters in Paris,” said the secretary-general of the National Commission of UNESCO, Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, head office Mr Josiah Mhlanga. “The funds will be used to capacitate journalism training at the institution’s school of journalism, especially in respect of practical work through the acquisition of up-to-date media equipment.”
“The enhancement of training capacities is a focus area for Unesco because of its multiplier effect on the profession at large,” said Mr Mhlanga.
UNESCO Office in Harare is a cluster office for Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
According to their page, the UNESCO Cluster Office in Harare seeks to advocate for and build members’ capacity for:
- The provision of universal access to quality basic education and expanded access to pre-basic, post-basic and continuing education
- The development and application of scientific and technological knowledge for social development
- The promotion of cultural diversity and the preservation of the world’s cultural heritage
- The expansion of access to information and communication technologies
Polytech in Bulawayo has also received a grant to purchase media equipment for their communications and arts programme. But there as well as in the capital of Zimbabwe one key thing needs improvement: human resources. I wonder how many culture professionals came to Zimbabwe recently on UNESCO grants?
I am thinking of the UNESCO-funded film school that graduated the likes of Raisedon Baya, for example. Or Berlinale-like talent camps that gather world-class creatives in Durban and Cape Town but hardly ever south of the Limpopo.
Do people in Paris really think US$26,000 is enough to develop creative industries in Zimbabwe? Or is it the premise of local staff to identify the needs and address them adequately? And who is really accountable for developing culture sector in the developing world, when the needs are so vast and ever-growing?
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