The essence of the eBorneo Knowledge Fair consist of the interchanges among community members, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners. This year’s event will pick up the rolling agenda from eBKFIV in 2013; presenting the latest research findings to the communities of the highlands and seeking their responses and inputs for further inquiries. Topics that have been identified so far include:
1. The Sustainability of Innovations
Most of the action-oriented research that is conducted in partnership with the communities of the highlands of the Heart of Borneo involve innovative uses of various technologies; ranging from computers and the internet to renewable energy, radio broadcasting and drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles). Although the research is funded externally, communities need help in sustaining the costs involved in the continuing use of the applications that are adopted after the research has been completed. As innovations are replicated and scaled up to more communities, this becomes an issue of wider concern for the organisations, government and private, that are involved. MCMC and Maxis are establishing internet centres throughout Malaysia and the workshop will help them make use of the eBorneo research and community experiences to sustain them.
2. Service Learning for Students
Cornell University's Public Service Center is a service organization connecting Cornell students, faculty, and alumni with community organizations. UNIMAS and Cornell are working together to bring students into the eBorneo projects to provide them with the service experiences that are regarded as essential to active citizenship. At the same time, we also expect the communities to derive some benefit from the exchange, so we have to ask them what they would like and how they would want the students to go about providing it.
3. Climate Change and Indigenous Knowledge
Globally, indigenous peoples peoples legally own more than 11% of the world’s remaining forests, with traditional ownership and land tenure covering an even greater area, supporting close to 80% of the planet’s terrestrial biodiversity. The Heart of Borneo (HoB) covers more than 20 million hectares of equatorial rain forest and is also known for the cultural and linguistic diversity of the several ethnic groups of indigenous peoples. Local people depend on the forest for a variety of resources including: food, medicinal plants, non-timber forest products for trade, wild game, fish, construction materials and water. The traditional management practices of the indigenous communities have contributed to sustainable management of natural resources of the area over the last centuries. This workshop will bring together earth scientists with members of FORMADAT and other residents in order to: i) alert the residents, researchers and policy makers to the threat of climate change in the HoB; ii) Obtain their perspectives on climate change; in terms of environmental protection, livelihoods, health, food security, enterprise development and cultural preservation; iii) agree aspects of traditional indigenous knowledge pertaining to the environment that might further elucidate aspects of climate change and the factors that could mitigate it; and iv) Formulate proposals for the identification, collection, recording, management and application of such traditional knowledge in a way that harmonizes with community culture, standards and practices and makes effective use of ICTs in accordance with local development aspirations. For a better understanding of why this important click here.
4. Community Based Tourism
The internet has opened up the highland communities to a dramatic rise in the numbers of tourists, resulting in increased revenues and opportunities for associated community-based enterprises. There are indications that this is even re-vitalizing the local economy. As tourism is a double-edged sword, this workshop will bring researchers and tourism professionals and government officials together with the residents to examine how further opportunities can be exploited whilst minimizing the negative impacts.
5. Highland Arts
Being home to several distinctive and related indigenous cultures, the Highlands in the Heart of Borneo have spawned a range of vibrant and unique art forms that continue to reflect their origins whilst simultaneously adapting to contemporary influences and opportunities. For example, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have an important contribution to make to the preservation of artistic traditions as well as in promoting new forms of expression and the wider dissemination of visual and audio creations.
This workshop addresses the problems and opportunities in cultivating the arts of the highlands and how ICTs might be used to increase artistic pursuit among the highland communities and to enhance their appreciation among a broader audience. We will do this by: (1) Describing the current state of Highland arts; (2) Identifying the challenges in promoting the arts; (3) Presenting benchmarking research of how other communities have attempted to preserve their art & culture; (4) Brainstorming ideas and solutions; and (5) Agreeing action points & next steps. Facilitating the workshop we are lucky to have the hugely gifted, multi-talented and internationally renowned Sarawakian artist and musician Alena Lipang Murang, just back from her North American sape-playing tour. Alena is a Rakan Muda Mentor under the Ministry of Youth & Sport, teaching Sarawakian music and dance to the nation’s youth, and is passionate about keeping Sarawakian arts alive and making them well known globally.
6. Community Radio
Radio Bario is Malaysia's first ever community radio station. Whilst being very popular with the residents, it faces challenges of sustainability as well as opportunities for broadening its reach to a global audience via the internet. Radio remains the most effective medium for reaching Asia’s people but its limitation is that it is designed for broadcast, not conversation. However, when we combine radio with mobile phones, we have a mechanism for community dialogue and when we put that onto the internet, the community becomes a global one.The workshop will help the government regulators understand the significance of community - especially indigenous - broadcasting, with the aim of extending it to more locations, as well as formulating plans for sustaining and expanding its operations; based on the desires and priorities of the community it serves.
7. Digital Lifestyle Malaysia
Digital Lifestyle Malaysia is an initiative undertaken by The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to promote and accelerate the development and adoption of applications and services. It includes the adoption of intelligent Internet of Things infrastructures in Internet-based communications transactions to promote growth and better quality of life. In this workshop, government officials can explore with the residents how the eBorneo initiatives might contribute to the programme.
8. Low Cost Aerial Photography for Community Land Planning
Researchers have begun experimenting with the use of small drones to make aerial photographs that can be stitched together to form detailed maps. These have multiple uses in connection with planning surrounding the use of land. With the advent of low cost technologies such as helium-filled balloons and radio-controlled model aircraft, more organizations, communities and individuals can afford to deploy aerial photography for their own purposes and to use the results for their own planning. This workshop allows the researchers and officials to engage with residents and demonstrate the potential of the technique as well as eliciting community-based suggestions for its application.
9. Knowledge Mobilization: The Impact of ICT4D Research on Policy and Practice
Evidence, observation and experience suggests that most research into the use of ICTs for development has little impact on policy or development practice. One of the main reasons for this is that researchers rarely engage with communities, policy makers or practitioners; except of course when they attend eBKF events! This workshop will take advantage of having researchers in the same room as community representatives, policy makers and practitioners to explore ways of mobilizing their knowledge and ensuring closer relationships between us all in order to ensure that research is relevant to real-world needs and that the results can be properly communicated to those who need them and then put into practice. Proceedings will be based on two recent publications by one of our organisers:
10. Community Protocols
Although most of the research that is conducted under the eBorneo banner is action-oriented, with commitments for tangible impact and benefit-sharing, it is crucial that activities are conducted in a culturally-appropriate manner and that communities fully understand the implications and consequences of accepting to participate in the often innovative and experimental uses of technology that are introduced into their lives. The concept of free, prior and informed consent has been conceived as a pre-condition for development that affects indigenous communities. This workshop will elaborate on these themes to ensure that researchers and communities fully understand them and that community members are aware that they are able and welcome to influence proceedings towards outcomes that they appreciate and approve of. The workshop will be lead by Dr. Poline Bala, Head of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at UNIMAS, an indigenous anthropologist and a pioneer of the original deployment of ICTs in the Highlands. Click here for more on this issue.
11. The Smart Villages Initiative
The Smart Villages Initiative is concerned with enabling modern energy access and ensuring that this energy is used productively to catalyse rural development. This workshop will build on findings from the recent Smart Village Initiative’s Kuching Workshop, namely that importance be attached to addressing cultural issues and ensuring that development pathways build on and are sympathetic to rural traditions. The focus of the workshop will be on community perspectives of modern energy access, understanding community development aspirations, and mapping development pathways in the context of the Ba’Kelalan community
12. Finale: Bringing it all Together
Arising from the combined outputs of the community workshops, all participants assemble to build a consensus around the actions necessary to achieve the development opportunities that have been identified. Researchers will be able to formulate further inquiries in support of community-driven problems and aspirations. Government officials will understand what actions are needed for their programmes to be more innovative and responsive to the needs expressed by the community representatives and how they might be effectively and sustainably scaled to wider audiences. Development professionals can take back what they have learned and fold it in into their activities for delivering continued benefits to the people with whom they work.