Digitalizing and preserving Oroo', a secret signage language of the nomadic Penans in the rainforest
Institute of Social Informatics and Technological Innovations (ISITI-CoERI)
In 2013, the ISITI and Polytechnic of Namibia with the collaboration of Long Lamai community initiated a project for digitalizing and preserving of Oroo’.
Oroo’ is a living cultural heritage of the Penan which from a historical, political, social and scientific perspective is of extreme value to society. The community elders acknowledge the growing interest of their young generation in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the role of technology in bridging the social and cultural inter-generational gap in Long Lamai.
Therefore the main goal of Oroo’ project was to develop and design appropriate ICT tools for preservation and digitalization of sign language of the community, given that the older generation is slowly dying out, and knowledge is no longer being transferred to the younger generation within the current context. The project activities focused on documenting Oroo’ signs and developing ICT tools for contemporary use of Oroo’ signs as communication medium for the youth.
The project outcomes included a database of Oroo’ signs, a PC based digital Oroo’ adventure game and a mobile based Oroo’ Tangibles, a learning tool for Oroo’ language.