Innovation Generation: Fisherman’s Daughter Brings Technology Home

Inspired by an Intel Innovation Generation boot camp, a fisherman’s daughter is using technology to help bring Indonesian fishermen out of poverty.

Indonesia is a nation of some 17,000 islands. Despite proximity to abundant ocean resources, fishermen in Indonesia live largely in poverty. Inspired by an Intel innovation boot camp, the daughter of a fisherman from a remote part of the country’s South Sulawesi province is using technology to change that.

Fina Irmawati Syam grew up in Bulukumba, South Sulawesi, home of one of the most beautiful, but remote beaches in Indonesia. Her stepfather is a fisherman and her mother is a housewife.

I was fortunate that I [could] go to university and obtain a degree in mathematics education.

During her studies, Fina enrolled in an Intel digital literacy program and began volunteering to teach basic technology skills to others using the Intel® Learn Easy Steps curriculum. She further expanded her sharing of digital knowledge in South Sulawesi by helping to found the “Rumah Inovasi” (house of innovation) and “Rumah Baca” (house of reading) community centers aimed at giving girls and women access to information and basic technology skills.

But Fina longed to do more to improve the lives of people living in poverty in her community. A technology boot camp organized by Intel Indonesia and Sahabat Pulau, an education and socio-entrepreneurship organization, gave her the tools to do that.

At the camp, Fina learned about the basics of programming and electronics, and using simple development boards to create technology innovations to address community needs. She began to develop “JukuTech,” a smartphone-based system aimed at helping fishing families increase their incomes.

To create JukuTech, said Fina, “I combined traditional fishing with technology.” The system incorporates a fish finder that sends a fisherman a message when a “rumpon,” a traditional Indonesian fish aggregating device, is filled with fish. As a result, fishermen can save time and fuel costs by avoiding unnecessary trips to rumpons that turn out to be empty.

JukuTech also incorporates an app that notifies potential buyers when a fresh catch will be available, and digital marketing tools that help the wives of fishermen sell products made from excess fish, like dried fish, nuggets, or chips.

JukuTech received the “Most Innovative Solution” award in the Indonesian Ministry of ICT’s Integrated Broadband Solution competition for tech start-ups. The government is now funding a pilot program using JukuTech across a remote region of Indonesia.

We have been receiving calls from fishermen communities to order JukuTech.

Today, Fina has extended her journey to launch and manage a Bulukumbu Innovation Hub on a remote island with support from the local government and Intel; and is mentoring many youth in her community, empowering them to become young innovators as herself.