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Empowering communities through PEDi

Publish date: Thu, 30 Nov 2023, 09:16 AM


THE PEDi Madani Conference 2023 hosted by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) brought together entrepreneurs, managers and assistant managers from 911 PEDi centres for sharing of knowledge and exchange of best practices and ideas.

The Pusat Ekonomi Digital Keluarga Malaysia (PEDi) is a government initiative led by MCMC, which aims to provide internet access to the underserved in urban, suburban and rural areas while providing training programmes to enhance digital literacy and digital entrepreneurship skills among local communities.

The event yesterday brought together the talents, and celebrated the tireless work of the unsung heroes – the PEDi programme facilitators who play a crucial role behind the scenes in supporting digital literacy and entrepreneurship.

It was an opportunity to acknowledge their hard work and dedication, and to recognise their pivotal role in bridging the digital gap and fostering a sense of empowerment among the residents of rural and suburban areas.

In his speech during the official launch of the PEDi Madani Conference 2023, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim commended the efforts of the PEDi initiative spearheaded by MCMC, which aligned with the government’s aim to ensure equal opportunities for all Malaysians in digital skills, irrespective of social status or geography.

Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil further emphasised the government’s continued support to ensure the sustained effectiveness of PEDi for the local community’s benefit.

He expressed his gratitude to organisations such as the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim), e-commerce platforms, and service providers – including Telekom Malaysia, CelcomDigi, Maxis, and Redtone – which have all played a part in providing opportunities and e-learning programmes to enhance learning and entrepreneurial growth for the locals.

The conference brought to centre stage the people driving progress in the digital world – the entrepreneurs and the dedicated managers of PEDi.

Essential community hub

In today’s rapidly advancing world, PEDi has emerged as a powerful platform to drive change and progress in the country’s remote and rural areas.

These centres are equipped with computers and internet access, and serve as vibrant ecosystems of learning and opportunity for the local communities – which at one point the digital world seemed to be beyond them.

The digital economy centres were established as digital catalysts in surrounding communities, providing essential services and support, such as basic computer skills.

PEDi also offers value-added services like digital health services, cashless transactions, and served as a one-stop centre for online bill payments.

The opening of these centres is part of the transformation efforts to drive the development of the country’s digital economy in line with national aspirations under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).

PEDi provides internet access and value-added services to a population of 18.9 million within a 5km-radius. These centres have proven immensely beneficial to the community, with a record of 1.3 million Malaysians utilising the centres.

Currently, there are 911 PEDi centres spread across the country, and as part of its 1DUN 1PEDi campaign, MCMC set up an additional 186 centres in Q1 2023 to reach more communities and ensure everyone can access and benefit from the digital world.

MCMC remains committed to expanding its reach and empowering more individuals and communities to become tech-savvy and participate in the digital economy.

Heart of the operations

At the heart of the digital growth in the rural and suburban landscapes are the dedicated PEDi managers who work tirelessly to bridge the digital divide for residents of these areas.

These unsung heroes are the driving force behind the transformative journey in their communities, and it is through their unwavering commitment that the locals can take full advantage of digital technology.

The PEDi managers go beyond their administrative duties; they are community advocates who invest their time to comprehend the current levels of digital knowledge among the residents.

Through this understanding, they craft classes and training programmes to inspire and empower the community.

Their resilience and unwavering belief in the transformative power of technology make them the backbone of PEDi.

From managing the day-to-day operations of the PEDi to crafting classes and training programmes, they ensure that the centres are not merely spaces with computers but thriving hubs of learning and collaboration.

Stepping stone

PEDi has come a long way since its inception in 2007 as internet community centres that offered access to communities.

Today, these centres have evolved into a hub of entrepreneurship programmes that support citizens’ digital and entrepreneurship journey.

The micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) sector has been one of the key contributors to the country’s economy – achieving a growth of 11.6% in 2022, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of RM580.4bil.

For Eri Dusun, the training and opportunities at PEDi Pekan Putera Jaya, Sabah, have enabled her sambal tuhau business to reach a larger pool of customers, including in Peninsular Malaysia and internationally.For Eri Dusun, the training and opportunities at PEDi Pekan Putera Jaya, Sabah, have enabled her sambal tuhau business to reach a larger pool of customers, including in Peninsular Malaysia and internationally.

Thus, it is imperative to encourage entrepreneurs in these communities to embrace digital technology to transform their businesses and contribute positively to the nation’s economy. By incorporating digital solutions into their operations, MSMEs can increase efficiency, improve competitiveness, and expand their reach to new markets.

As community members become more adept at navigating the digital landscape, more entrepreneurs emerge from all corners of the country.

The centres then become a nurturing ground for success stories, where individuals who once struggled to make ends meet are now running thriving digital enterprises and contributing to the nation’s digital economy.

Recounting her success following her participation in PEDi, Eri Dusun from PEDi Pekan Putera Jaya, Sabah, shared how thankful she is to have joined the programme.

Eri started her sambal tuhau business in 2015 through the programme. The training and opportunities at PEDi Pekan Putera Jaya had enabled her to reach a larger pool of customers geographically. This includes customers in Peninsular Malaysia and internationally.

Haleda Aqila from PEDi Pontian, Johor, who manages craft products and supplies souvenirs, attributes her success to her training at PEDi, particularly in marketing products via e-commerce platforms.Haleda Aqila from PEDi Pontian, Johor, who manages craft products and supplies souvenirs, attributes her success to her training at PEDi, particularly in marketing products via e-commerce platforms.

Fellow entrepreneur Haleda Aqila from PEDi Pontian, Johor, manages craft products and supplies souvenirs. She shared how immensely supportive the PEDi staff have been as she embarked on her entrepreneurship journey.

She attributes all her success to her training at PEDi, particularly in marketing products via e-commerce platforms.

PEDi bridges the digital divide and replaces it with a bridge of possibilities – connecting rural and suburban communities to a world of opportunities previously beyond their reach.

PEDi has enabled the local community to boost their income without requiring relocation to cities or urban areas – presenting opportunities right within their vicinity, and this has allowed them to thrive within their own community.

Moving forward

During the PEDi Madani Conference 2023, the results of MCMC’s PEDi impact assessment were shared by Minister Fahmi Fadzil.

The results show high active usage of PEDi at 94%, with 89% positive feedback from the community and a 70% net promoter score – indicating the willingness of users to recommend PEDi to others.

The results are a testament to the success and impact of the PEDi on the community.

With the strategic direction for PEDi in place, it will see a more focused roadmap for PEDi in further expanding and supporting the communities.

As the PEDi across Malaysia continues to expand and reach more communities, there is one clear takeaway that these centres bring to the community – they catalyse change.

They bring in jobs, digital opportunities, and a chance for everyone to be part of the digital wave – shaping a future where opportunities flourish beyond geographical limits.

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