In 2014, ASSET embarked on a long-term partnership with the Bawang Assan community, an Iban community located along the Rejang River. This vibrant community comprises 9 longhouses and is home to approximately 3,000 residents. Within the community, there are primary and secondary schools, an Internet center, a Methodist church, and a health clinic. The ASSET team supported the Bawang Assan community by spearheading the first rural Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) project in Malaysia, providing Internet access to the longhouses.
Machan town is located in close proximity to Kanowit Market, approximately 26km away, and is also conveniently situated near Sibu Town, just a 35-minute drive. The estimated population of Machan is 9,000 people, primarily consisting of residents from Nanga Machan to Ulu Machan. The town encompasses 28 longhouses, with 12 of them located in Ulu Machan. Machan is renowned for its Tapah Fish and is predominantly inhabited by the Ibanese community, with a significant presence of Chinese residents as well. The socio-economic landscape of Machan revolves around agriculture, with a focus on crops such as oil palm, pepper, rubber, and rice cultivation (both paddy and marsh rice). Additionally, a few locals engage in gathering forest produce and crafting traditional handicrafts such as woven mats, baskets, and rattan products. Moreover, residents of Machan are employed in various sectors, including government agencies, private enterprises, as well as manual labor and farming occupations.
Long Lamai is a remote Penan village located in the upper Baram region of Sarawak state in Malaysian Borneo. It is a “remote” and “rural” community that lacks road access, a hospital/clinic, and piped water, although it does have limited power supply and telecommunication services. The village has a population of 600 individuals residing in 116 houses. Long Lamai’s available infrastructure includes a Penan school, a church, a community hall, a micro-hydro system, a Telecentre (currently not connected to the internet), and a mobile communication tower. Its remoteness and detachment from the official administrative government structure make it a unique place that has not yet been fully connected to or integrated into the market and cash economy. The villagers rely on the forest, river, and some surrounding paddy fields for sustenance. The researchers of ASSET are currently working with the Long Lamai community on co-designing digital technologies for cultural heritage preservation, climate change, and service-learning programs.
Long Leng is a Penan village and a partner of ASSET in the “Vulnerability, resilience, and learning from climate shocks” project. It is located in the Totoh Apoh area of the Baram region in Sarawak. To reach Long Leng, one must travel by 4WD, which takes approximately one hour from the nearest town, Long Bedian. Long Bedian itself is a 4-hour drive on logging roads from Miri, the nearest city. The population of Long Leng consists of around 48 households with approximately 150 inhabitants. In terms of infrastructure, the village has benefited from the state utility’s Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (SARES) program. Solar home systems have been provided to the village for lighting and basic energy service needs. While phone connectivity in the village is limited, there are government-provided water tanks, a church building, and a kindergarten. The main livelihood activities in the village are agriculture and hunting-gathering from the forest. Additionally, some women in the village engage in making handicrafts from rattan, which they sell in Long Bedian.
Long Latei is a one of the six partner Penan villages in the ASSET’s “Vulnerability, resilience and learning from climate shocks” project. Long Latei is home to 5 longhouses, 200 households and 1000 individuals and only accessible on a 6 hours 4WD via a logging road from the nearest town Miri. The Penan of Long Latei shifted to semi-nomadic and permanent lifestyles between the 1950s and 1970s. The village has a library, primary school, a church building, and home of many youth population. The youth of Long Latei are engaged with the Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Malaysian oil corporation) on Sarawak-Sabah Gas pipeline which crosses Long Latei and the other surrounding Penan villages. The main livelihood activities are agriculture and hunting-gathering. Some women of the village also make handicrafts from rattan which they sell in Long Bedian (a nearby small town). The village has very limited economic opportunities. Therefore, tourism is a source of cash income and ultimately fulfil needs of the settled life such as supporting children education in towns
Advanced Centre for Sustainable Socio-economic and Technological Development (ASSET),
University of Technology Sarawak (UTS)
96000 Sibu, Sarawak,
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