Previous Project

Thuklai also known as Old Fort White, near Fort White and Siallum Fort of WW-II

Thuklai also known as Old Fort White, near Fort White and Siallum Fort of WW-II

We want to install 60 new devices (Ubiquiti 2.4/5 GHZ Standard Wifi Antennas) to MAINTAIN and EXTENT our existing pilot project. Because we:

1. want stable services under very hot, rainy, humidly of various weather conditions and fluctuated electricity.
2. want to expand our services (intranet) to the local virtual learning system and local communication system (VOIP).

We started this pilot project to solve:
1. communication bearer among villages in Chin state and with international communities
2. inclusive informal education including knowledge and information sharing

This project will engage with local community:
1. to have knowledge, informal education including Human Rights, Women Rights, Child Rights, Democracy, Federalism, Laws and Constitution, Cultivation skills, Management skill, Child-centered learning methodology, English language, Vocational skills, Computer, Internet, Smartphone, Citizen journalist, Digital security, Facilitation, voter education, monitoring and evaluation skills, good governance, Update news and events, Information sharing.

2. to solve communication bearer among those 20 villages and with international communities

3. able to access and share updated news and information, report their needs to MPs, Media, and International communities

4. It will become the local version of Khan Academy in the future. We will add more value such like IP TV, streaming FM, Local Village telco network; we can also be Local Internet Services Provider. We can be International Institute by Virtual Learning System. As it is the pilot project, we can expand to the whole Chin state and others states and regions in Myanmar by using the same prototypes. We also have sustainable operation program to run local wireless network after post project.

5. During installation work, we also will train local young people on how the devices work, how to solve minor problems, how to use the services effectively.

PROJECT GOALS

Community participation:
The way in which projects are undertaken involves a sharing of ideas and information. Involvement in shared decision making and responsibility is central to achieving a positive outcome.
The work is carefully sequenced and designed in close consultation with the community so that efforts from everyone can be optimized. It is agreed that the ultimate outcome is to have a genuine and lasting impact on the lives of the people and their communities.

By working together in a participatory mode, we are able to understand what works best for the community. Continuing input from all the participants is essential to the success of the project.
Goal 1, Pre-survey/consultation result will lead to user experiences service and contents distribution. It will empower, equip with skills and knowledge its grant right to access information depending on their requirement.

Goal 2, Local web, chat, IVR and VOIP installation in a local server will solve communication bearer among those 20 villages and with international communities.

Goal 3, Updated news collection and localized download and upload sources will lead them to grant freedom of express and access. They can participate in policy development and implementation in governing mechanism by telling their own stories to policy makers, MPs, and international communities.

Goal 4, Open source and free software, such as moodle CMS installation will integrate media and technology into formal and non-formal education system and can access at their convenience time and location. Not only affordable but also expanding the process of learning beyond the classroom and across the lifespan.

Goal 5, Engaging with local communities will lead to sustainable development and grant local ownership of the project to look after and expanding the network and quality.

Lessons learned

Freedom is not the same as getting things for free. Sometimes people do not value services that they do not have to pay for. To empower people to have responsive behaviour when using the community networks and maintaining them in a sustainable way, we asked for contributions, not only of money, but also their time, whether through physical labour or other forms of volunteer engagement.

Sometimes users would fight amongst themselves. Some users downloaded videos and games that affected connectivity for everyone. Sometimes people wanted to charge their neighbours for connecting to their router. We have had to offer counselling to resolve these disputes. We have also had to install software to monitor and control the system to limit heavy downloads and access to “adult” content, and to restrict some users during school hours.

Some reported that community users only spent time using social media, which they felt was not improving their lives in significant ways. In order to change this and encourage users to read more widely, we set up a system where users first had to complete a quiz with general knowledge questions before being granted a week’s internet access. If they did not know the answers they would have to go do some research in the local library folder on the network.

Sometimes parents complained that teachers used social media during school hours instead of focusing on school lessons and teaching. The team met with the communities and teachers and agreed on limiting the use of social media and internet access during school hours, which, as mentioned, was configured on the system.

There was no national electrical grid in the project area, so the project had to depend on hydropower [8] and solar power. During the rainy seasons, hydropower stations were washed away by flash floods, and solar power was made ineffective by heavy cloud cover. The network did have a backup generator, but the diesel needed to run it led to extra costs for the communities. This meant that the use of the network was limited in the rainy seasons.

Changing needs

The ASORCOM community Wi-Fi network was active until the end of 2017. In mid-2017 the area received mobile telephone coverage by the MPT GSM network. Later Ooredoo 3G and Telenor 3G also offered their services to the area. Because of this, the network needed to develop new plans, which included upgrading the network so that it could be used for local community media including audio podcasts, video streaming and IPTV. A data server was set up to assist with local administration.

At present, the team is working on supporting community radio stations in Myanmar. It is setting up a community FM radio station in the area and has been engaged in conducting surveys, meeting with communities, offering radio journalism training and workshops, and drafting constitutions and bylaws for community radio stations which will contribute towards reforming the national broadcasting law. The team has also been forming a development committee for the communities in the valley and building a music recording studio.