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What is the project about?
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated interest from governments and the media on bridging the digital access divide. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) allocated resources from the Universal Services Fund to improve the quality of broadband services in rural areas. However, according to the chief minister and government of Sarawak, meaningful connectivity for all Indigenous communities in the state is not in sight, considering the costs involved for telecommunication companies; their priorities are not entirely people-centric.
The Indigenous communities in Malaysian Borneo are confronted with a wide range of challenges and opportunities associated with the development, implementation and adoption of rapidly emerging digital technologies. These include supply-side challenges (such as availability and cost), demand-side challenges (such as appropriate digital literacy programs), and policy-side challenges (such as the absence of appropriate policies for digital inclusion). The aim of this project is to develop a Digital Inclusion Policy Literacy (DIPL) programme with two partner communities, which will target capacity building of local champions, engaging together in policy formulation for digital inclusion, and to mobilise research and advocacy for policy change in the region.