Community commerce for Penan community, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia

 

Long Lamai is one of the biggest and oldest settlements of the Eastern Penan in Sarawak, Borneo. The Penan population consists of more than 150 households today, who live on farming, hunting, and gathering forest fruits and products. In 2006, the Penan community received a telecenter with computer network connected to a satellite network. The telecenter runs on a 4kW solar PV system.

The Penan community in Long Lamai want to use a web shop to sell craft and visits of tourists to the village. However, this requires coordination of a considerable number of stakeholders and an up-front investment of which it is unclear whether it will be earned back. The web shop will be hosted elsewhere but managed through the telecenter. When a craft item is ordered on the shop, the order must be placed at a local craftperson, and the item must be transported by river boat to a nearby city, and then by national and international long distance transportation to the buyer’s address. When tourists want to visit Long Lamai, the web shop must obtain a stay from a home owner, buy a boat trip, and hire local transportation for the luggage. In addition, the telecenter must remain available for internet access for the Eastern Penan population. It is far from clear at the outset that all of these activities can be performed in an economically sustainable way.

e3value was used to make a map of all the stakeholder involved in these business ideas, and to make clear who delivers what to whom against which price. This clarified for all stakeholders what they would have to do to realize this business idea. Net flow cash analysis was done to assess economic feasibility, and sensitivity analysis was done to test robustness against market assumptions. Our analysis showed that there was sufficient economic incentive to implement this value model.

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