Malaysian seaweed farmer wins ITU-MCMC ‘Digital Icon Award’
By Digital News Asia November 22, 2013
- Award presented to Kabilah Hassan at the Connect Asia Pacific Summit 2013 in Bangkok recently
- ITU invites MCMC to partner it to search for and document similar inspirational stories across APAC
KABILAH Hassan, a seaweed farmer from Kunak, Sabah has been awarded the ‘Transformational Power of Broadband Digital Icon Award 2013’ by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
The award was given to Kabilah as recognition for her success in transforming her conventional seaweed business into an online business venture, the MCMC said in a statement.
The award was presented during the Multi-stakeholder Partnerships and Announcements session at the Connect Asia Pacific Summit 2013 in Bangkok recently, which was also attended by ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Toure.
“I am delighted with the ITU’s decision to present this award to Kabilah,” said Malaysia’s Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
“Like other delegations attending the summit, we have the responsibility to ensure that our citizens have access to broadband, which is not an easy task. However, stories of individuals such as Kabilah’s make it all worthwhile and prove to us that everything is possible with broadband,” he added.
Two years ago, putting food on the table was a constant worry for Kabilah, further compounded by the fact that uncertain weather can jeopardise seaweed farming. However, she refused to give up the business that her forefathers had started, the MCMC said.
Today, her business has grown so much that she now employs half her village. Her customers are in China, Japan, the United States and other parts of the world that she never imagined selling to back then.
The decision to put her business online not only transformed the seaweed business but also her life as a whole, the MCMC added.
Ahmad Shabery noted that ICT and broadband have brought the world closer together and is helping bridge the gaps between the urban and rural, and also the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’
Thanks to initiatives like 1Malaysia Internet Centres (PI1M) and Kampung Tanpa Wayar (Wirless Villages), he added, entrepreneurs in rural areas now have the opportunity to improve their livelihoods when they put their businesses online.
Saying that the ITU was impressed with MCMC’s broadband stories in the ‘Connected at the Roots’ series, Ahmad Shabery also announced that the international body has invited the MCMC to partner it to search for and document inspirational stories such as Kabilah’s from all over the Asia Pacific region.
The Transformational Power of Broadband initiative ‘Connecting at the Roots,’ implemented jointly by the ITU and MCMC, was showcased alongside 88 projects announced by the ITU with multiple partners across the Asia Pacific region, including the MCMC.
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