eBKF7 Chairman's Foreword

As part of our continuing efforts to bring the benefits of innovation through research with our partner communities, we have established the eBorneo Knowledge Fair platform. The eBorneo Knowledge Fair (eBKF; which began as the eBario Knowledge Fair) is driven by community priorities and is evaluated by community beneficiaries. The eBKF has become a pioneering Development Conferencing initiative that involves academicians, development professionals, policy makers and activists who meet in remote Borneo sites (e.g. Bario or Ba'kelalan) with only rudimentary or challenged facilities for conferencing. Despite the challenges faced in access and uncertainties in technology, the event succeeds in enabling interaction among the participants who engage in insightful dialogues leading to lasting and meaningful relationships. This confluence of multiple stakeholders living and working together with the community in remote indigenous settings has produced valuable outcomes beyond our expectations.

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eBorneo Knowledge Fair

The eBorneo Knowledge Fair (eBKF) is a bi-annual unconference, held in the highlands of Central Borneo in northern Sarawak. It showcases the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for development in isolated and rural areas, especially those regions inhabited by indigenous peoples. eBKF also highlights the achievements of the multi-award winning eBario project through which various ICTs and Malaysia’s first community radio station have been introduced into this remote region. Organised by the Institute of Social Informatics and Technological Innovations at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, together with the local communities in the highlands, this event provides an opportunity for researchers, development practitioners, policy makers, technology scientists, designers and  developers and community leaders to together immerse in the realities of everyday life of the isolated indigenous communities involved.

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eBKF7: Indigenous Connections Across Borders

Many indigenous populations of Borneo share common lifestyles and cultures, yet they are separated from each other through the creation of international borders which have led to the creation of new barriers to the on-going connections which have existed between them for generations. With recent development in ICTs, this gap can be bridged, and enable these isolated communities to share their knowledge and achievements so that they can support each other. Given the commonality of lifestyles, challenges and opportunities faced by Borneo’s indigenous peoples, it is time to (re)foster interconnections between them. This is by leveraging on sharing of ideas, experiences and accomplishments that have been achieved by some of the communities. This is so that others who are less fortunate can also benefit. 

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