Malaysia E-Bario / UNDP workshop report from K-Net rep's perspective

The eBario Knowledge Fair occurred on the days of Dec 6-9, 2007 in the small village of Bario, Sarawak, Malaysia.

The United Nation Development Program (UNDP) invited K-Net and Jesse Fiddler was sent to give a presentation on our work in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) here in Northern Ontario, Canada.

The Knowledge Fair had 2 concurrent workshop themes with one focusing on the local Bario ICT accomplishments and challenges, and the other focusing on the UNDP gathering to examine Asian Indigenous ICT and Media issues.

K-Net was one of the few American Continental representatives and it was a privilege to show how far we've come in developing ICTs in our communities. We truly are a global model of how ICTs can be implemented in a way that shows cooperation on a regional/national level while building ICT capacity and ownership at the community level.

Highlights of the Knowledge Fair were the intense discussions and sharing between Indigenous Community Practioners, Researchers, and Experts in the field.

The location of the venue also gave all participants a sample of Bario life and the real world challenges of implementing ICTs in a remote community.

Bario also gave everyone a taste of the culture which included the friendly hospitality of our hosts, the excellent food, and the cultural traditions of the people which included Singing, Dancing, Games, the Language, and the Lifestyle. Pictures of the event can be found at  

One overall product of the Knowledge Fair was the eBario Vision for Indigenous Peoples which  is being presented at the GK3 gathering in Kuala Lumpor on Dec 11-13, 2007. The Vision was discussed and drafted by the Indigenous representatives and Bario ICT Practioners. The entire week was so full of workshops and activities that the final draft was actually finished at the airport where everyone was waiting for their departures.

The community environment and informal get-togethers helped in the creativeness of the statement while keeping it at the grassroots level. This Vision was created to complement and further evolve the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Indigenous Declaration mentions Media in Article 16 but there is no further mention of ICTs and how they relate to Indigenous Peoples. We all saw ICTs as one important way for Indigenous People to develop ourselves and communities in many capacities such as culture, heritage, education, economy and health.

At the core of the gathering, there was a sense of unity and kinship between all the people as everyone shared our own cultures, traditions and unique situations. This was only possible because of the environment we were in as we all shared lodging in the traditional Longhouses of the Kelabit. Everyone was in agreement that the location and people were responsible for creating this sharing environment which was far removed from the hubbub of the cities and high-rise conference centers.

Some but not all the of participants/presenters gathered at the Fair were:

- John Tarawe, Bario Malaysia
- Gerawat Gala, Sarawak Malaysia
- Roger Harris, UNDP
- Lars Bestle, UNDP
- William Partick Nyigor, Sarawak Malaysia
- Heather Hudson, Unviversity of San Francisco
- Michael Gurnstein, Canada
- Poline Bala, Bario Malaysia
- Jeremy Brown, University Brunei Darussalam
- Phillip Raja, Miri Malaysia
- Agan Tadun, Malaysia
- Jong Fung Swee, Sarawak Malaysia
- Sarah Hitchner, University of Georgia
- Gerawat Nulun, Bario Malaysia
- Lucy Bulan, Bario Malaysia
- Alvin W. Yeo, Sarawak Malaysia
- Tan Chong Eng, Sarawak Malaysia
- Bernard Chong, Kuching Malaysia
- Marian Pelletier, Dalhousie University
- Abdul Gapar Abu Baker, Monash University
- Helen TRavers, University of Queensland
- Joanna Kitingan, Sabah Malaysia
- Daniella Schiller, Step-up Travel
- Sanjay Nadkarni, University of Hawaii
- Hari Kishore Chakma, Bangladesh
- Tongam Rina, India
- Khim Prsas Ghale, Nepal
- Tuidim Tawkliana, India
- Pio Jun Verzola, Phillipines
- Jim Remedia, Australia
- Stefanus Masiun, Indonesia
- Ina Hume, Uganda
- Wang Jianhuaa (Ayoe), China Ahka / Thailand
- Nyan Nea & Sovann Hien, Cambodia
- Jennifer Lasimbang, sabah Malaysia
- Dillip Pattanaik, India
- Sombat Boongamanong, Thailand
- Suchin Petcharugsa, Thailand
- Teanau Tuiono, New Zealand

Apologies if I got any names wrong.

I would like to send out a big Thank You to all the participants and people I met. Especially to the ones that shared their personal stories. I hope everyone had a safe journey home or on their continued journeys.

Jesse Fiddler

More Links