Whose premise: UNESCO-Harare or UNESCO-Paris?

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.

UNESCO in Harare

“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?

You can write to Andy Kozlov on a.kozlov@steppesinsync.com


One thought on “Whose premise: UNESCO-Harare or UNESCO-Paris?”

  1. Regarding the request for funding of US$26.0000 by Mass Media Department [Harare Polytechnic] is a good move. However, the premises have gone past “best before date.” Since there is now a Harare Institute of Technology, I believe Harare Polytechnic should be converted into Harare University Polytechnic and relocated to a new site. The entire Harare show grounds including PTC Training Centre and other structures bounded by Bishop Gaul Avenue South, Rekayi Tangwena Avenue and -Bulawayo Road will be demolished to make way for this vital learning institution. The vacated polytechnic site would then be available for Harare Civic Centre. About 25 years ago,City of Harare ran an architectural competition for a new civic centre which was supposed to be built next to Harare Magistrate court. That site has been taken over by other projects. This should be the way forward for Harare Polytechnic and City of Harare. The Ministry of Local Government in partnership with The Institute of Architects of Zimbabwe can run a National, Regional and international competition for these two projects. The benefits: revive the construction industry by creating work for Zimbabweans and revitalizing City of Harare. City of Harare needs an upmarket Civic offices as the Capital city.

    Samuel Tendai Mudehwe
    [former Senior Architectural Technician]
    Harvey Bufé Partnership Chartered Architects-Bulawayo-1981.
    Harvey Bufé Mwamuka Mercuri Partnership, Chartered Architects-Harare-1989.
    Mwamuka Mercuri & Associates, Chartered Architects- Harare-1994.
    Mthupha Practice Architects-Harare-1998.

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