Digital Malaysia’s Pokok platform to help underprivileged

  • Initiative targeted at the B40 group, lowest 40% of Malaysian population in terms of household income
  • Matches B40 issues and needs with contributions from NGOs and the private sector

Digital Malaysia’s Pokok platform to help underprivilegedTHE Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) has announced a new Digital Malaysia initiative to harness and coordinate greater private sector contribution in community and social development targeted at the B40 group, the lowest 40% of the Malaysian population in terms of household income.
 
Termed Pembangunan Oleh Komuniti Untuk Komuniti (Pokok), or the Development by the Community for the Community, the ICT-enabled collaborative platform and its methodology is aimed at matching B40 issues and needs with contributions – in the form of programs, products or services – from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector.
 
The Pokok platform seeks to improve the quality of life of underprivileged Malaysians, beginning with the state of Pahang, MDeC said in a statement.
 
“There are 2.4 million Malaysian households which live on an average of below RM2,300 per month,” said MDeC chief executive officer Badlisham Ghazali (pic).
 
“There is a need to elevate their livelihood as we move into the digital era and transform the country into a developed nation by 2020.
 
“The digital economy presents many income-generating opportunities. The B40 who are not competent in IT can still benefit from the many IT-enabled platforms such as e-commerce aggregators, and relevant digital platforms which are supported by on-the-ground resources will help bring economic benefits to them,” he said.
 
Pokok commenced operations in February by engaging 239 villages in all 11 districts of Pahang to date. MDeC said 40,000 individual profiles of village residents have been compiled, with 13,000 physically verified and matched to societal development activities based on their interests and skills.
 
Comprehensive demographics of all 239 villages have also been compiled, encompassing the spectrum of public facilities available for use, such as activity centers.
 
Additionally, training was provided in many areas to selected local residents. The ‘micro sourcing’ or supplementary income opportunities for the B40 group has seen more than 600 ‘micro workers’ trained, with 300 of them securing over 1,000 paying tasks ranging from data verification and entry, to identifying local residents serving and supporting Pokok’s Community Advisory Outreach Unit as representatives.
 
The initiative aims to gradually increase NGO and private sector collaboration in government programs to uplift society, said MDeC, the national ICT custodian in charge of implementing Digital Malaysia, which aims to transform Malaysia into a digital economy.
 
Pokok is designed to improve the efficiency and impact of vertical programs through ICT enabled tools and mechanisms, by encouraging the relevant stakeholders and communities to track the programs’ performance and funding utilization, enhancing transparency, efficiency and accuracy.
 
Among the activities in the first wave were the Reading & Spoken English Program, the Child Safety Campaign, Cancer Awareness and Clinical Program, and Cycling for the Community.
 
Pokok was deployed in collaboration with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development as the public sector champion, and the Pahang state government for its implementation.
 
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