FEATURE: Indonesian village fulfills its dig­i­tal dream
By Syam­sul Huda M Suhari
08 April 2017

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - The village re­ceived US$15,000 from telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany PT Telkom­sel’s cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity pro­gramme to go fully digital.

Lamahu - a small vil­lage in Indonesia's Gorontalo prov­ince with a meagre pop­u­la­tion of 1,219 peo­ple - has be­come the first vil­lage to go dig­i­tal in the prov­ince.

The idea was discussed when vil­lage head Hasan Hasiru, 31, ex­pressed con­cern over dark­ness in some ar­eas dur­ing the night be­cause of a lack of street light­ing. In the dark, young cou­ples were of­ten spot­ted en­gag­ing in in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior, which raised con­cern among vil­lagers.To­gether with the El­nino Cen­ter, a lo­cal com­mu­nity and hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment in­sti­tu­tion, they came up with the idea of cre­at­ing a dig­i­tal vil­lage to the ad­van­tage of all the com­mu­nity.In De­cem­ber 2016, vil­lage of­fi­cials, lo­cal youth or­ga­ni­sa­tion Karang Taruna and the El­nino Cen­ter started de­sign­ing, search­ing for ref­er­ences, for­mu­lat­ing con­cepts and seek­ing fund­ing to re­al­ise the dig­i­tal-vil­lage dream.They fi­nally re­ceived 200 mil­lion rupiah (US$15,000) from telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany PT Telkom­sel’s cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity pro­gramme. The lo­cal peo­ple also con­trib­uted money from their own pocket to sup­port the pro­gramme.

“Some con­trib­uted money just to buy cof­fee for the meet­ings. Others par­tic­i­pated by dig­ging holes to ac­com­mo­date new con­crete struc­tures,” chair­man of the lo­cal Karang Taruna, Rah­man Su­lae­man, said.

The hard work has now re­sulted in 32 units of closed-cir­cuit tele­vi­sion (CCTV) cam­eras in­stalled on street lamp poles. They use en­ergy-sav­ing LED bulbs that come with both light and move­ment sen­sors.

“The lights will au­to­mat­i­cally switch off dur­ing day­light and will au­to­mat­i­cally switch on in the evening when some­one passes,” said Nur Syamsu Panna, di­rec­tor of El­niño Cen­ter who is also the de­signer of the Lamahu dig­i­tal vil­lage.

Free in­ter­net ac­cess is also avail­able for res­i­dents of the vil­lage. They can eas­ily sign in us­ing their ID cards num­bers as pass­words. The vil­lage also of­fers its res­i­dents An­droid-based multi-func­tional ap­pli­ca­tions avail­able from Google Play Store. Called the Lamahu Com­mand Cen­ter, the ap­pli­ca­tion of­fers three fa­cil­i­ties: alarms for se­cu­rity emer­gen­cies and for health emer­gen­cies and fa­cil­i­ties to ac­quire var­i­ous doc­u­ments from the vil­lage hall.

Syamsu said the se­cu­rity alarm had been in­te­grated with the vil­lage se­cu­rity per­son­nel.

“For in­stance, if a fight or theft is com­mit­ted, any­one wit­ness­ing just needs to tap the but­ton and the mes­sage will reach vil­lage of­fi­cials, se­cu­rity per­son­nel and peo­ple within a ra­dius of 500 me­ters from the scene,” he said.

The same ap­plies to the health alarm. For the doc­u­ment-ap­pli­ca­tion fa­cil­ity, res­i­dents only need to pick up the hard copy of the doc­u­ments at the vil­lage hall once they are ap­proved.

As a sur­vey re­vealed that only some 400 res­i­dents used An­droid-based smart phones while the rest used reg­u­lar mo­bile phones, Lamahu vil­lage ad­min­is­tra­tion also pro­vides short mes­sag­ing ser­vice cen­ter ap­pli­ca­tions for the fa­cil­i­ties. While for res­i­dents with­out mo­bile phones, the ad­min­is­tra­tion has put speak­ers in front of their re­spec­tive houses for the ad­min­is­tra­tion to an­nounce any de­vel­op­ment in the vil­lage.

El­nino M Hu­sein Mohi, the founder of the El­nino Cen­ter, called Lamahu a spe­cial dig­i­tal vil­lage that com­bined tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ments and lo­cal wis­dom, namely mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion.

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ law­maker said he wanted to make Lamahu a model for other dig­i­tal vil­lages in Gorontalo. “It’s no co­in­ci­dence that Lamahu in the Gorontalo lan­guage means mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion,” he said.

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