Onno Purbo

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2005


This profile was prepared when Onno Purbo was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
Convinced that access to information and broad participation in knowledge formation are integral to survival and poverty alleviation in an increasingly globalized economy, Onno is pursuing a concerted range of strategies to stimulate and broaden access to the Internet. His goal is to engage rapidly increasing portions of Indonesia’s population in knowledge-using and knowledge-generating endeavors.
A key element of those strategies has been the creation and nurturing of a network, or virtual organization, of like-minded individuals who are committed to “democratizing” Internet access. Over the past dozen years, Onno has worked with hundreds of such individuals who are spearheading the development and use of technologies for bringing affordable and cost-efficient Internet access to schools, grassroots communities and citizen groups. To broaden their reach, Onno and his colleagues have produced an impressive and rapidly growing body of books and papers in the local language (Bahasa, Indonesian) on the relevant technologies and their application in successful endeavors to expand Internet access and use in Indonesia. Operating on a “knowledge is power” philosophy, they have also begun efforts to introduce and expand Internet access in the Indonesian educational system.
Complementing those efforts, Onno and his associates are also engaged in advocacy work aimed at the adoption of public policies that will provide an enabling environment for the rapid expansion of Internet access and the development of a knowledge-based society.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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