The Jakarta Post
The government of the United Kingdom, in partnership with local NGO Common Room Network Foundation, has launched a project that aims to provide wider internet access to remote communities in West Java.
The two-year project, worth £190,000 (US$232,865), will provide internet access to the people of Kasepuhan Ciptagelar – an ethnic community group that lives in some of the most remote areas in West Java.
This project is a part of the UK’s Prosperity Fund Digital Access Programme in Indonesia, which has a budget of up to £16.5 million over four years.
The British Embassy said in a statement on Monday that in the long term, the project would promote community-based internet access in Kasepuhan Ciptagelar areas, while also supporting digital literacy to strengthen the capacity building of the local community.
Meanwhile, the Common Room aims to develop a viable model and scale up the effort to include other indigenous communities in Indonesia, which could be a major step on that road to ensure every Indonesian, no matter where they live, has access to the internet.
“However, in the short term the project has been rapidly tweaked to help fight COVID-19. It means we need to get important health information out to everyone, as quickly as possible, in their local language,” the statement said.
Programs agreed on by the British Embassy Jakarta and the Common Room include the production of conventional and digital media content as a vehicle for delivering credible COVID-19 information using approaches adapted to local languages and culture that can be easily understood by the local community.
An e-book in Sundanese has already been produced and will be disseminated across West Java.
British Ambassador to Indonesia Owen Jenkins said the UK was keen to find some way to help Indonesia face COVID-19.
“We had this project starting with Common Room Network Foundation, so we quickly worked with them to tweak it so we could make sure that vital health messages – delivered through both traditional and digital media – could reach everyone,” he said. “We hope that after this is achieved, the project can focus on making sure this community gets the full benefits of the internet.”
Common Room project lead Gustaff Iskandar thanked the British Embassy for its support for the project.
“We believe this will grow into a fruitful collaboration and will strengthen people-to-people connections between the UK and Indonesia,” he said.