Villagers in remote Bario to move into e-commerce


Thursday April 20, 2006

Villagers in remote Bario to move into e-commerce

KUCHING: The Kelabits in the inaccessible Bario highlands of northern Sarawak will soon be able to market their handcraft, their popular fragrant rice and other products online.

Plans are under way to initiate an e-commerce programme through the successful eBario project, which has helped to connect the remote settlement to the world.

The Bario community, which is now managing the telecentre under the eBario project set up six years ago, will take part in the development of a website for e-commerce, according to a paper presented at an international symposium on information communications technology for rural development here yesterday.

The paper was written by a Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) team comprising Peter Songan, Alvin Yeo, Khairuddin Abdul Hamid and Jayapragas Gnaniah.

The telecentre, set up by Unimas, is a public access facility to provide a combination of ICT services, ranging from e-mail to full Internet and World Wide Web connectivity. It has 10 computers.

The paper said the telecentre, which provided Internet access via a wireless link, benefits some 200 students.

The paper said Unimas and the Bario community had developed an e-tourism website to promote the attractions in the highlands.

The website is maintained by a Kelabit living in Britain, and it provides a portal to tourists interested in Bario.

Some members of the community are accepting bookings for accommodation via e-mail. Some are promoting their lodges on, it added.