BRINGING URBAN AND RURAL TECH DEVELOPMENT TOGETHER – TECH AND INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE
West Java, with its current 46 million inhabitants, is one of the most densely populated provinces in Indonesia and considering its strong population growth rate, it is likely to even reach 100 million inhabitants by 2045. Currently there is a widening gap between the lives of the people in urban and rural areas. Urban areas are shadowed by their growing populations with increasing needs for resources, while rural areas embedded with distinct cultural and environmental identities increasingly struggle to maintain their traditional identities while at the same time increasing their capacity to develop their own potential.
The Innovation Factory project in Indonesia aims to connect the mountain community of Kasepuhan Ciptagelar to the larger society of West Java applying their local wisdom and cultural roots as a foundation to enhance their ability to increase their livelihood through sustainable agriculture. The project also aims to bridge the urban/rural gap through a platform of creativity, research and innovation that is based upon multi-stakeholder collaboration. With the strategic use of ICT and digital media, the network expects to increase the ability of farmers in Kasepuhan Ciptagelar to develop local products and sustainable business plans, as well as to gain better access to the market for their agricultural and artisanal production.
Tradition and Innovation
Farming culture and tradition in Kasepuhan Ciptagelar are still based on ancestral practices, but apart from their strength in maintaining ancient beliefs and tradition, the Kasepuhan Ciptagelar? villagers are also known for theiropenness in utilizing modern knowledge and technology. The IF project builds upon a previously existing collaboration between Common Room, an NGO based in
Bandung, and the community of Kasepuhan Ciptagelar through which many needs have been continuously assessed and reassessed.
Participation through technology
Based on the knowledge and experience that has been gathered through the initiated needs assessment and the continuous interaction within the multi-stakeholder network, two main focal ideas have been identified for further development at this stage of the project:
- Strengthening local ICT infrastructure to enhance community, communication and coordination. A prototypically established mini data-centre will form the basis for a further expansion of information access using open source technology. So far, the mini data center contains photos, videos, documents, and other media files of relevance to the community of Kasepuhan Ciptagelar. This data will be shared and distributed to the people of Kasepuhan Ciptagelar through the utilization of Raspberry Pi (RasPi). RasPi is a low-cost minicomputer that can for instance enable the villagers to change their own TV screen into a computer so they can experience direct LAN-based interaction between each household within the neighborhood.
By strengthening the data center at Kasepuhan Ciptagelar, it is hoped that the indigenous community in the whole village can preserve their own collective knowledge, including their unique culture and tradition. As part of the data center installment, the country team in Indonesia also aims to set up a maker media lab and involving the youth in the community. The inclusion of local groups of youth is considered beneficial in terms of greater creative input in the community as well as the expected contribution to strengthening a sustainable agriculture strategy for the future of the village.
- Mapping of the indigenous territory. Recognizing the cultural territory of Kasepuhan Ciptagelar that has been inherited from their ancestors is a minimum requirement for creating a harmonious life for the community. The territory is part of their identity. The aim is to map the indigenous lands to secure tenure, manage natural resources, and strengthen the culture. The methodology applied to this mapping process will likely involve participatory approaches with data provided by the villagers themselves in combination with more technical methods, including geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing. Through this approach, the people of Kasepuhan Ciptagelar can work together with researchers in data collection and interpretation to transform and communicate their cognitive knowledge and thereby enhance their ability to manage their own lands.
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