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eBedian Project Failure Highlights Importance Of Community Input

on 24 November 2011.

BARIO: There are lessons to be learned from the failure of the eBedian project in Long Bedian, Baram, and one of them is that politicians are not always right.

Implemented in 2003 with a government funding of RM250,000, it was to replicate the success of the eBario project, which was initiated by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), but the outcome was completely different.

The Kayan community that eBedian had hoped to serve had instead turned a cold shoulder towards it as they were left out of the loop from the start of the project.

Unimas vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Khairuddin Abdul Hamid admitted in an interview with The Star that the eBedian project failed to achieve its objectives.

 

Getting the message across: Dr Poline Bala, the project coordinator of the Needs Analysis in Developing Telecentre Programme and head of the Anthropology and Sociology Department of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, conducting a workshop with the Orang Asal communities of Malaysia and Indonesia, including 25 Orang Asli representatives from Gua Musang in Kelantan and Kuala Lipis in Pahang.
 
 

“However, the failure has become a good research material for us. At Long Bedian, the project was politically driven and every decision making had to go through a particular political leader.

“The failure at eBedian has proven that ‘bottom-up’ implementation is more successful than ‘top-down’ project implementation,” he said on the sidelines of the eBario Knowledge Fair.

The eBario project was initiated 11 years ago in the Kelabit high-lands of Bario to provide computers and Internet access in the isolated area.

It has led to the implementation of eBakelalan for the Lun Bawang community in Lawas, eLamai for the Penan in Long Lamai, eBuayan for the Dusun in Kampung Buayan Penampang in Sabah, and eLarapan for the Bajau of Pulau Larapan Semporna also in Sabah.

In the eBario Knowledge Fair, which ends on Nov 18, the Orang Asli has come from the peninsula to learn from the project.

Khairuddin said projects that were to be implemented for the Orang Asli community must be done by engaging them and undestanding their needs and expectations.

“You cannot shove the project down their throats.

“We have to look at their emotional intelligence and psychological make up.

“They have lots of past scars when dealing with outside communities and thus, it will take time for them to trust us,’’ he said.

He pointed out that Unimas’ Institute of Social Informatics and Technological Innovation-Centre of Excellence for Rural Informatics (ISITI-CoERI) was awarded a government grant in February and its research was expected to be completed by early next year.

He said the partners in the initiative included the Department of Orang Asli Development and the Semai communities at Pos Lenjang and Pos Sendirut in Pahang as well as the Temiar people of Pos Balar and Pos Gob in Kelantan.

The research is built on lessons learned from eBario.

It aims to conduct a preliminary assessment of actual ICT needs and uses in the communities to be served by a telecentre and to provide training to all stakeholders.

“We believe that people’s behaviours, customs and motivation to usage, as well as perceptions and attitude toward technology are strongly influenced by their social and cultural context.

“In fact, some of their needs are much more specific to the geographic area and socio-cultural context,’’ said Khairuddin.

 

 

 

Extracted From TheStar

Arkib Berita

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