eBKF7 Chairperson'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.

Over the years, the eBorneo Knowledge Fair has proceeded towards the goal of bringing research by UNIMAS/ISITI to bear on the problems, challenges, aspirations and opportunities faced by the remote, isolated and underserved indigenous communities of Malaysia, Asia and the rest of the world.

The conference has been a showcase for the research that has been carried out in remote rural indigenous communities since 1998 as well as the direct and indirect implications of the various projects that have been implemented. The conference surprises participants by the extent of work that has been undertaken and sheds insights on the continuing impact of the long list of past and on-going projects. The evolutionary development works involve the innovative use of technology, particularly via the community telecentre, and the replication of the successful eBario model to other similar sites. These include Malaysia's first community radio station - Radio Bario- and more recently the inauguration of the Kelabit community museum. The Knowledge Fair has served as a platform for the exchange of knowledge between the various and diverse stakeholders, becoming a powerful avenue for transferring community initiated best-practices and acts as a channel for feedback that helps to identify concerns and potential ideas through direct engagement and partnership with the participating indigenous communities. It also provides direct access to development and technological expertise for these communities.

eBKF is now a regular feature of ISITI/UNIMAS calendar and we hope that it continues long into the future as a key feature of the Institution's community engagement strategy.

We hereby invite you and your organization to join us to be part of the event. Participants and stakeholders will gain first-hand insights on our experiences in working with communities on our numerous social innovation projects. We look forward to hosting you at this event and strive to make a significant impact for our partner communities and other marginalized communities.