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CSZ round-up: 46 years of motion

JOICE BENZA

The Computer Society of Zimbabwe (CSZ), which has now become a recognisable name in the technology space in Zimbabwe, enjoys a majestic history of firsts, achievements, hallmarks and participation. In this short compilation, we have put together some of our current big talking points in the life of the society:

#CSZSummit : Biggest chat of the year

The first Summer School, which is our annual conference for discussion and exchange of topical ideas on the many dynamic applications of computing on the various social issues, was held in Nyanga in 1983.

Thirty-five years and many successful editions later, we evolved our format to suit the changing world and as our initial form outgrew its initial ambitions. The result was a fully-fledged summit, which has been successfully held every year, since. The CSZ summit is, today, the ultimate convergence of technology professions, firms, thinkers, influencers and enthusiasts discussing cutting-edge technology and alternative futures. The latest summit, held in Nyanga last year, was a hybrid with both the physical event and virtual access — and it commanded an oversubscription during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

46 years – and counting!

This year, CSZ turns 47 – making it one of the oldest associations of its time in Zimbabwe. From the humble beginnings of a small grouping founded on the 20th of August 1974 and spearheading the launching of the first computer studies diploma programmes in 1975 in Harare and Bulawayo, CSZ now boasts of a thriving membership comprising of fellows (‘grand-masters’), professionals (practicing and in service), affiliates (technology enthusiasts and domain professionals who see potential in how technology impacts their own terrains) and students.

CSZ equals global

CSZ has featured its brand in various international fora. The beginning was the IFIP (International Federation for Information Processing) General Assembly held in 1991 Zimbabwe which was attended by all IFIP Member countries. Through membership of IFIP, IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering) and British Computer Society, CSZ leveraged the opportunity to build capacity within the society, and from there, spread its international participation through ground-breaking platforms such as the African Regional Configuration Unit (ARC) where it is a member.

ICDL: Continuous learning

In 1999 the International Computer Driving License (ICDL) Unit of the CSZ was Inaugurated. ICDL caters for both Private and Public sector training and certification on the relevant use of computing. ICDL is now also running in Zambia as CSZ continues to partner with other education bodies in its endeavours.

Notably, ICDL programmes have remained active during the Covid-19 pandemic — one of the most significant eras, in the modern world, where ICTs have been adopted to adapt to a radically changing world at global scale!

This has been achieved through the implementation of special guidelines for tutoring and remote invigilation of ICDL certification tests. These guidelines will let test centres run certification testing sessions safely, remotely and securely. We take the quality of the ICDL programme very seriously and the guidelines will maintain our high standards, while allowing for the very different situation we are now in.

Influencing national policy

CSZ participated in the National ICT Policy Framework Committee, chaired several subcommittees, and continues to participate in Government ICT initiatives. Remarkably, our chief involvement has been in giving input into the Cybercrime and Cyber Security, and the Electronic Transactions and Electronic Commerce Bills. Our key point of leverage in this process has been our professionals and affiliates pool, who are not only knowledgeable on emerging technologies and special interest areas such as cybersecurity and e-Commerce, but have extensive hands-on experience in the areas.
Their positioning through skill and know-how helps in inputting into bills which are not only all-encompassing, but are practical in the Zimbabwean context.

@protocol appathon

The Computer Society of Zimbabwe, this year, partnered with US-based The @Company (The At Company), in bringing the @protocol Appathon II to Zimbabwe, targeting young developers and technology enthusiasts. Participants are being challenged to build innovative consumer applications on @protocol, an open, permission-based protocol that makes great user experience and automatic privacy compliance easy.Benza is vice president of the Computer Society of Zimbabwe.

This initiative, being run in association with the Computer Society of Zimbabwe (CSZ) for the country, runs from the 1st of February to the 14th of May, 2021.

The challenge is running in two clusters, the first one for developers in Zimbabwe, and the second, targeted on the US, Canada, Bermuda and Bangladesh. By having a track dedicated to Zimbabwe, notably, Zimbabweans will make up the largest number of participants by nationality.

That’s our quick round-up of some of our biggest and favourite talking points! If you are interested in joining the Computer Society of Zimbabwe, visit csz.org.zw.

Benza is vice president of the Computer Society of Zimbabwe.

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