eBario Sdn Bhd operates the eBario project, which is a multi-award winning initiative that brought computers and the internet to the isolated communities of Kelabit people living in the remote highlands of northern Sarawak, one the East Malaysian States on the island of Borneo. It is located in the ecologically important area known as the Heart of Borneo, which is characterized by its pristine rainforest environment and the unique cultures and lifestyles of the residents.

Below is eBarios’ vision for Indigenous People and ICT. For more information about eBario, please visit the eBario Sdn Bhd website (as well as these Ethnos Project posts).

The eBario Vision for Indigenous People and ICT

[source] We welcome the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration serves to further invigorate our own energies towards realizing our rights and we note that the Declaration is a single, albeit vital step towards the ultimate goal of fully realizing them.

We acknowledge the work Indigenous Peoples have done in bridging the digital divide with reference to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process and note Article 15 of the WSIS Declaration states, “In the evolution of the Information Society, particular attention must be given to the special situation of Indigenous Peoples, as well as the preservation of their heritage and cultural legacy.” This further supports the work of the Global Indigenous Community in protecting Indigenous Knowledge.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) with quality rich applications and media provide significant opportunities that support aspirations of Indigenous Peoples, as demonstrated by the e-Bario Telecentre and many other Indigenous driven examples around the world.

The e-Bario Vision for Indigenous Peoples and ICTs foresees a world in which all Indigenous Peoples everywhere, irrespective of our location, are able to make full and effective use of new media and ICTs whilst retaining our strength in diversity and simultaneously uniting in purpose towards our common goal of self-determination. In this Vision, we will pursue our development and self-reliance on our own terms whilst retaining the full intent of the Declaration.

The Vision recognizes the need for widespread development and deployment of contemporary and future ICTs and new media for the realization of creative and effective solutions for the problems faced by Indigenous Peoples.

We acknowledge the role of governments and other stakeholders and consequently we are looking for respective partnerships in the following priority areas:

  • Sensitize and raise awareness of policy makers and civil society organizations on freedom of expression and rights to information for Indigenous Peoples in Asia.
  • Training of Indigenous journalists and other media professionals in reporting in Indigenous Peoples issues and in harnessing ICT/new media.
  • Develop the capacity of Indigenous Peoples organizations for setting up ICT interventions for e-inclusion to test applications of common interest (e.g. land, culture, poverty, health, access to information, freedom of expression).
  • Develop the capacity in setting up a number of Indigenous community media facilities (radio, website, telecentre etc).
  • Establish a ‘community of practice’ for sharing of good practices on e-inclusion and media for Indigenous Peoples.
  • Research on the need and availability of disaggregated data that reflects the situation of Asia’s Indigenous Peoples, as they themselves would like to express it.

Visit the eBario Sdn Bhd website for more information.

Addendum: Tariq Zaman wrote a post worth reading on telecentre.org about his trip to Bario and which details his experience at the 2nd eBario Knowledge Fair in 2009. He also co-authored a 2012 paper titled Telecentre Replication Initiative in Borneo, Malaysia: The CoERI Experience (good stuff!).