Creating sustainable livelihood for the Semai tribe through self-built housing

Hele tekst



Creating sustainable

livelihood for the Semai tribe through self-built housing


Bachelor Thesis 12-01-2017 B. van Jole - 2064049 Avans Hogeschool, Tilburg, Netherlands Ir. Eefje Hendriks Ir. Michiel Smits Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Malaysia Dr. Wan Srihani Wan Mohamed




Type of document: Bachelor Thesis

Title: Creating sustainable livelihood for the Semai tribe through self-built housing

Subtitle: Graduation thesis about housing project for indigenous people of Malaysia

Author: Bart van Jole

Building Engineering student 2064049

tel: +31643102740 (NL)/ +60186601856 (MY) Organisation: Universiti Putra Malaysia

Department of Architecture Faculty of Design & Architecture UPM 43400 Serdang


tel: +603 8946 6000

Represented by: Dr. Wan Srihani Wan Mohamed Senior lecturer

tel: +603 8946 4078

Educational institution: Avans University of Applied Sciences.

Professor Cobbenhagenlaan 13 5037 DA Tilburg

The Netherlands tel: +31 88 525 75 00 Represented by: Ir. Eefje Hendriks

Doctoral researcher post-disaster recovery and lecturer

Ir. Michiel Smits

Doctoral researcher and lecturer




As a Building engineering student I have always been interested in an international challenge.

Architecture is an international language which can connect cultures, since housing applies to people of all cultures. Sharing knowledge of this common capital works in both directions.

Therefore I became very interested in the opportunity to help the local Semai people in Malaysia.

This knowledge sharing required me to communicate and work together. The deeper motivation of doing my research in this field of architecture is to provide a long term perspective for local people’s lives. This requires a tailor-made solution, providing answers to the local people’s needs that are achievable.

In such a developed country as Malaysia, it is hard to imagine that there are still many people living under poverty line. The Orang Asli, literally translated as original people, -the indigenous people of Malaysia- are neglected from society. They live in poor conditions, which is a stark contrast to the rest of Peninsular Malaysia. Fortunately, there are multiple organizations, from different disciplines who help to improve their conditions. The Teratak Semai Project (TSP) is a beautiful example of such a good deed and it would be an honour to advise from my background and implement it on site.


The past few months have been exciting for me and I am grateful to have had an amazing professional and personal experience in Malaysia. This would not have been possible without the help of many great people.

Firstly, I would like to thank my tutors, Eefje Hendriks and Michiel Smits, for their valuable guidance and support. They made it possible to take graduation to a next level.

In particular, I would like to thank Dr. Wan for giving me this opportunity and giving me a warm welcome to Malaysia and the TSP. In addition, I would like to thank Prof. Meor for welcoming me and for his great efforts on the project. Also, my gratitude go out to TSP secretary Saedah for the support on my thesis.

I would like to congratulate the volunteers and in particular the staff of TSP for winning the 2016 Volunteer Malaysia Award under the category of Best Volunteer Initiative. This appreciation is greatly deserved and will hopefully bring more attention and funding to the project.

My gratitude goes out to the Semai people of Kg. Bt. 5 and 17 for their hospitality. Also, I would like to thank the Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh (MBI) team and contractors for their hospitality and teamwork on building houses for those in need.

Finally, I would like to thank my family and friends for the help and support of my research and during my stay in Malaysia.

Tilburg, January 12, 2017




Indigenous people all over the world are living in poverty and threatened in their habitat. As well in Peninsular Malaysia, where housing for Orang Asli is still inadequate. In a Semai community in the forest in the state Perak several Semai people are having trouble to organize new housing for themselves due to many factors, such as lack of human and financial capital, but also different personal priorities. Teratak Semai Project (TSP) fulfils the housing needs, but the gap with long- term solutions still exists. TSP claims to use the method of self-help building, but in reality the involvement of the owner is minimal.

The objective of the outcome of this research is to strengthen human capital through self-help housing to contribute to a sustainable livelihood. Sustainable livelihood is set up by the British Department For International Development (DFID) and “refers to a way of approaching

development that incorporates all aspects of human livelihoods and the means whereby people obtain them” (Kamil, Nasir, & Rashid, 2011, p. 1). This thesis presents recommendations for the Teratak Semai Project (TSP) – a non-governmental organisation (NGO) – to pursue this objective.

This thesis answers the main research question: “What is the optimal self-help building strategy for TSP which contributes to sustainable livelihood for the Semai in Kampung Batu 17, Malaysia?“

Literature review and field research is conducted about participation, knowledge sharing and skills sharing in the context of sustainable livelihood.

Literature review shows that the critical factors in constructing housing to obtain a sustainable livelihood are: legal status, education and income. From the field research in the village and the expert interview the conclusion can be made that the Semai people are overall knowledgeable of building and are willing to participate, both in constructing their own house and in another family’s house. In order for people to participate, their priory of job needs be taken in

consideration. Downward accountability through cultural appropriate communication is essential to clarify expectations of all actors.

Observations and questionnaires also pointed out that the usage of a step-by-step construction manual by a local, is clearly understood when a minimum level of high school education is present. An expert interview made clear that a manual should not be the end focus, but a tool which follows the vision that underlies the organization.

The main recommendations that emerged from this research are: construction activities should take place outside of the busy fruit season; the amount of volunteers should be reduced to two or three people; a manual is advised to use in combination with personal guidance with basic

building experience; already completed units or scale models could be used as an example; and avoid materials which are not found in the architecture of the village.



Abstract (Dutch)

Inheemse gemeenshappen over de hele wereld leven in armoede en worden bedreigd in hun leefomgeving. Ook op het Maleisisch schiereiland, waar huisvesting voor de Orang Asli nog onvoldoende is. In een Semai gemeenschap in de jungle van de staat Perak zijn verscheidene mensen die niet in staat zijn nieuwe huisvesting voor zichzelf te organiseren. Factoren zoals een gebrek aan ‘human’ en ‘financial capital’, maar ook persoonlijke prioriteiten veroorzaken dit.

Teratak Semai Project (TSP) vervult de behoefte aan huisvesting, maar langetermijn oplossingen schieten nog tekort. TSP zegt de self-help bouwmethode toe te passen, maar in de praktijk is de betrokkenheid van de bewoner minimaal.

De doelstelling van het resultaat van dit onderzoek is om de ‘human captial’ te versterken met de

‘self-help’ bouwmethoden om bij te dragen aan een ‘sustainable livelihood’. ‘Sustainable livelihood’ is opgezet door het British Department For International Development (DFID) en refereert naar een benadering van ontwikkeling dat alle aspecten van menselijk levensonderhoud bevat en de middelen om deze te verkijgen (Kamil et al., 2011, p. 1). Deze scriptie presenteert aanbevelingen voor TSP – een non-governmental organisation (NGO) – om de doelstelling na te streven. Dit rapport beantwoordt de onderzoeksvraag: Wat is de optimale ‘self-help’ strategie voor TSP wat bijdraagt aan de ‘sustainable livelihood’ van de Semai-stam in Kampung Batu 17, Maleisië? Het theoretisch kader en veldonderzoek is uitgevoerd met betrekking tot participatie en het delen van kennis en vaardigheden in de context van ‘sustainable livelihood’.

Het theoretisch kader stelt dat de kritische factoren van het bouwen van huizen om ‘sustainable livelihood’ te verkrijgen zijn: wettelijke status, onderwijs en inkomen. Uit het veldonderzoek en het expert-interview kan worden geconcludeerd dat de Semai over het algemeen bekend zijn met bouwen en bereid zijn te participeren, zowel in het bouwen van hun eigen huis als het bouwen van andermans huis in de gemeenschap. Om hen te laten participeren moet eerst hun prioriteiten van werk in acht worden genomen. Verantwoording van bovenaf naar de bevolking door cultureel passende communicatie is essentieel om verwachtingen duidelijk te maken van alle actoren.

Observaties en vragenlijsten maken ook duidelijk dat het gebruik van stap-voor-stap handleidingen door een lokaal persoon mogelijk is wanneer de persoon minimaal het onderwijsniveau van middelbare school heeft bijgewoond. Volgens een expert moet een

handleiding niet de eindfocus zijn, maar een hulpmiddel dat de visie volgt die ten grondslag ligt aan de organisatie.

De belangrijkste aanbevelingen die voortvloeien uit dit onderzoek zijn: bouwactiviteiten moeten plaatsvinden buiten het drukke fruitseizoen; het aantal vrijwilligers moet worden teruggebracht naar twee tot drie personen; een handleiding wordt geadviseerd te gebruiken in combinatie met persoonlijke begeleiding met enige kennis van bouwen; voltooide huizen of maquettes kunnen worden gebruikt als voorbeeld en vermijd materialen die niet voorkomen in de architectuur van het dorp.




Abbreviations ... 8

1. Introduction ... 9

1.1. Problem description ... 9

1.2. Context ... 13

1.3. Objectives ... 16

1.4. Research questions ... 18

1.5. Scope ... 18

1.6. Research design ... 19

2. Literature review ... 24

2.1. Critical factors of sustainable livelihood in context of housing ... 24

2.1.1. Livelihood assets and its vulnerabilities ... 24

2.1.2. Sustainable livelihood of comparable Orang Asli community ... 26

2.1.3. Link with participation and skill transfer ... 26

2.1.4. Conclusion ... 27

2.2. Participation of Semai people in constructing their own houses ... 27

2.2.1. Definition and importance of participation ... 27

2.2.2. Activities of organic participation ... 28

2.2.3. Participation through co-financing ... 28

2.2.4. Main elements of participatory action with indigenous people ... 29

2.2.5. Conclusion ... 30

2.3. Aim and factors of knowledge and skills sharing ... 30

2.3.1. Definition and importance of ‘knowledge and skills sharing’ ... 30

2.3.2. Aim of level of knowledge transfer using Bloom’s Taxonomy ... 31

2.3.3. Use of traditional knowledge of Semai ... 32

2.3.4. Factors of knowledge sharing ... 33

2.3.5. Conclusion ... 33

3. Research results ... 34

3.1. Participation ... 34

3.1.1. Participatory observation ... 34

3.1.2. Structured field interview ... 36

3.1.3. Expert interview ... 37



3.2. Knowledge and skills transfer ... 38

3.2.1. Participatory observation ... 38

3.2.2. Experiments ... 39

3.2.3. Expert interview ... 41

4. Conclusion ... 42

5. Discussion ... 43

6. Recommendations ... 44

7. Bibliography ... 45




ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Bt. Batu (mile)

DFID British Department for International Development

EBC Ecology-Based Communities

GST Goods and Service Tax

IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development

JAKOA Jabatan Kemujuan Orang Asli (Department of Orang Asli Development)

Kg. Kampung (village)

MBI Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh (Ipoh City Council)

MMA Malaysian Medical Association

NGO Non-Governmental Organization

OA Orang Asli

PLI Poverty Line Index

TSP Teratak Semai Project

UPM Universiti Putra Malaysia



1. Introduction

1.1. Problem description

Cordone and Brizzi (2012) wrote in their report for International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) that there are more than 370 million indigenous people in the world.

According to this report they make up 5% of the world population, of which 70% lives in Asia. At the same time they represent 15% of those living in poverty. Indigenous people have often lost control over their own way of life because they have been dispossessed of their lands, territories, and resources (Cordone & Brizzi, 2012).

According to United Nations, Malaysia has the highest Human Development Index (HDI) of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries after Brunei and Singapore (Jahan, 2015). Despite this, 76.9% of the Orang Asli population lives below the Poverty Line Index (PLI) and 35.2% below less than half of the index (JHEOA, 2006).

Current governmental housing programs for the Orang Asli are still inadequate (Malaysia Economic Planning Unit, 2016). According to this report, an additional 5,040 new houses are required.

Figure 1: Project location Source: (“Google Maps,” 2017)

In this thesis a case is used to analyse the global issues of indigenous people from a local point of view. This case is the village of (Tapah) Kampung Batu 171. It is a Semai village in the jungle near the town of Tapah with about 300 inhabitants. This is illustrated in Figure 1. According Saedah Shari (Appendix 2), secretary of TSP, 10% of these Semai are in need of new housing.

1 Kampung (Kg.) means village; Batu (Bt.) means mile



Figure 2: Dilapidated Semai home Own source, taken on 30-09-2016

Current houses are damaged and structurally sound (Yeap, 2016). Dr. Wan, advisory board member of TSP, also states (Appendix 1) that several of the current houses are poor and are inhabited by multiple families. Insufficient housing is a part of a complex poverty issue. The lack of proper technical knowledge, skills and financial funds leads to a shortage of houses for the Semai people.

The Semai people suffer from a lack of resources, knowledge, and finance. In addition they are troubled by factors like extreme weather and also remoteness. These factors contribute to the main issue; insufficient housing. This causes other issues affecting the local people’s daily lives.

These problems are displayed in Figure 3 in a problem tree analysis.



Figure 3: Problem tree analysis Layout derived from: (“Planning tools: Problem Tree Analysis,”


Due to a variety of reasons, Orang Asli in rural areas are known to have a low level of education.

12.8% of Orang Asli students dropped out at primary level, the rate during transition from primary school to secondary school was 25.2% and at secondary level 49.2% (Malaysia Economic Planning Unit, 2016). This report stated that this has hampered the ability to secure high paying jobs or venture into business activities.

Teratak Semai Project is a voluntary Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) project that provides housing for the needy around the town of Tapah. The costs of one house unit is 5000RM

(1125USD) and consists of material costs, 4500RM (1013USD), and compensation, 500RM (112USD). The latter is for the owner to be able to build the walls. This compensation is to cover his expenses when he cannot work or to cover labour when he is unable to do it himself. There are no other overhead costs; the entire project is run by volunteers. External economic factors including: rising inflation and introduction of Goods and Service Tax in 2015, put tension on the project’s budget.



According to Dr. Wan (Appendix 2), there have been many programs on income management, but are in most cases unsuccessful due to the strong commitment of the Orang Asli to the jungle lifestyle. This strong commitment is also seen in the participation during building process

(Appendix 4).

According to Dr. Wan (Appendix 2), there is an instable flow of funding and volunteers for TSP.

The majority of construction activities is executed during summer break. This gives students the chance to interact with Semai and get hands-on experience with construction, but limits the timeframe to build. Also, the project has so far heavily depended on volunteers from contractors and MBI. With the volunteer’s full agenda, it is difficult to organize building on short notice. At first sight, this method of Malaysian volunteers from outside the village can lead to knowledge exchange. In practice there is a large number of volunteers during construction activities with a passive role of the house owner. This also suggests a more self-build approach, rather than a supplying approach.

Figure 4: Group of contractors building a house Own source: taken on 21-08-2016

The need for external help implies that there is not a fully sustainable livelihood. The current providing role of TSP is increasing the physical capital of the Semai people, with little focus on strengthening other assets. This is further discussed in the section 2.1.

As illustrated in figure 3, several Semai are having trouble to organize new housing for themselves due to many factors, such as lack of human and financial capital, but also different personal priorities. TSP fulfils the housing needs, but the gap with long-term solutions still exists. TPS claims to use the method of self-build, but in reality the involvement of the owner is minimal.



1.2. Context

The Orang Asli are the indigenous people of Malaysia with their own culture, language, and beliefs. About 147,412 Orang Asli reside in Peninsular Malaysia, of which most in the states of Perak and Pahang. They can be categorised under three main tribes (Negrito, Senoi, and Malayu Proto) and 19 ethnicities. (“Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA),” 2016) This is displayed in Figure 5. The tribe discussed in this research is the Semai.

Figure 5: Tribes of the indigenous people of Peninsular Malaysia

Source: (“Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA),”


The Semai, the largest of the Orang Asli in population, live mostly in the mountainous regions of Perak. The village of (Tapah) Kampung Batu 17 is a Semai village in the jungle, consisting of about 300 people.

TSP is a building project to provide new housing for the Orang Asli in need. The priority of this program is to make an impact with respect to knowledge of the construction of stronger homes while ensuring a more comfortable, safe and long-lasting environment.

Orang Asli

Negrito Kintaq

Lanok Kensiu Jahai Mendriq


Senoi Temiar Semai Mah Meri Che Wong

Ja Hut Semoq


Malayu Proto

Selatar Jakun Kuala Kanaq Temuan Semelai



Figure 6: House made by Teratak Semai project Source: Dr. Wan, taken on 18-03-2016

This project started on the 9th of April 2014 with a site visit in Kampung Batu 13 near the town Tapah in the state of Perak. It was initiated by Prof. Meor and Dr. Wan Mohamed from the Faculty of Architecture from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), together with their students. On the 29th of January 2015, the construction of four residential units for Orang Asli community started in Kampung Batu 16, with the support of the Assemblyman of Chenderiang and the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).

Figure 7: Map of the position of the projects Source: (“Google Maps,” 2017)



Figure 8: Teratak Semai project progress Source: Teratak Semai Project

The construction cost about 7,200 USD and was entirely funded by the MMA (BRON). While a mineral company Lhoist Company also contributed to the supply of cement to facilitate

construction. A group of students and UPM staff worked together to design and build homes for the first phase in 2015.

The main objective of this program is to replace dilapidated houses with stronger ones and introduce new techniques in home construction. Knowledge transfer can be carried out through the use of new techniques during the construction of the house itself (self-build housing). It also provides a learning opportunity for staff and students of architecture who are volunteers, involved directly in the construction of traditional housing.

The next challenge is TSP 4.0 with 18 units to be built in Kampung Batu 17. This project is considered to be more challenging than the previous ones because access to the village is difficult, via the jungle. Electricity is also dependent on the availability of a generator. Therefore support for the upcoming challenges are more than welcome.

First Phase Jan 2015

• Kg. Bt 16

• 4 houses built

• sponsors:

MMA, Assemblyman of Chenderiang

Second Phase Aug 2015

• Kg. Bt. 16

• 6 houses built

• sponsors:

MMA, Lhoist Sdn. Bhd.

Third Phase Jan 2016

• Kg. Bt. 5

• 10 houses built

• sponsors: MBI, Chenderiang Assemblyman

Fourth Phase Aug 2016

• Kg. Bt. 17

• 2 houses built, 16 more

• sponsors:

contractors collective, rotaray club



1.3. Objectives

Strengthening human capitals through self-help housing to contribute to a sustainable livelihood for the indigenous Semai people in Tapah.

Self-help housing can provide multiple benefits which can lead to fortified assets of the Semai.

This will contribute towards a sustainable livelihood. Long-term self-reliance is seen as a sustainable livelihood in this thesis. The self-help housing approach in this case depends on several underlying factors, as shown in Figure 9.

Figure 9: Objective tree analysis Own work

The construct of a sustainable livelihood is widely used among organizations, used for

approaches to poverty eradication (DFID, 1999). The construct is a more comprehensive view than conventional ones and incorporates all aspects of human livelihoods. It is mainly used in rural areas where people make a living from some kind of primary self-managed production. The framework used in this thesis, illustrated in Figure 10, is set up by the British Department For International Development (DFID). The definition used in this framework is based on the definition of ‘livelihood’ by R. Chambers and G. Conway (1991):

A livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets (including both material and social

resources) and activities required for a means of living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks and maintain or enhance its

capabilities and assets both now and in the future, while not undermining the natural resource base. (DFID, 1999, sec. 1, p. 1)



Figure 10: Sustainable livelihood framework Source: (DFID, 1999)

A comprehensive integrated strategy for the community would be outside the context of a graduation thesis for Building Engineering. The end product of this thesis will therefore be a strategy for the TSP with focus on Physical and Human Capital to pursue the objective

‘Sustainable Livelihood’.

The physical capital (new housing) of the given objective, can be seen as a basic human need. To illustrate and understand this, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can be used (Maslow, 1943). This is a theory in psychology which presents the human needs in a hierarchal pyramid, as shown in fFigure 11.

Figure 11: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs Source: (Maslow, 1943)

The current housing of the Semai can be seen as ‘shelter’. The people do have houses, but they are in a poor state and are occupied by multiple families. Therefore the objective of the

organization, 18 new houses for families, copes with the meaning of ‘property’, which is a need on the next level; safety and security. Housing for the Orang Asli is a physical attribute that should eventually contribute to sustainable livelihood. Making property could provide employment at the level of safety and security. For this reason it is preferable that the houses are built by the people themselves. The need ‘property’ can help the Semai in progressing towards higher needs

according to Maslow’s (1943) theory.



1.4. Research questions

To achieve these objectives, the main research question needs to be answered.


In order to answer this main question, the following sub-questions have been defined:

Sub questions

1. Which factors are critical in constructing houses to obtain a Sustainable livelihood for the Semai community?

2. Which measures could be taken to increase participation of local inhabitants of Kg. Bt. 17 in constructing their own houses?

3. How can the building-knowledge and skills be shared with the Semai people?

1.5. Scope

As there is only one research author, Bart van Jole, and to ensure focus on valid and

comprehensive research there is a strictly determined field of research. To serve the problem description from the discipline of Architecture & Building Engineering, the research will be only on the stated research questions. As stated in section 0, creating a sustainable livelihood is a complex framework consisting of vulnerabilities, livelihood assets, structures and processes. It would be too comprehensive for the scope of this thesis to research them all. Therefore, the focus will be on the Physical, Human and Social capitals, which will enable reaching these objectives.

As described in the section 1.2 there are many indigenous tribes and communities in Peninsular Malaysia, each with their own culture and needs. This thesis will focus on Kg. Bt. 17 and therefore statements can only be made for this village.



1.6. Research design

To provide an actual solution for the community, and not only serving knowledge (Lewin, 1946), the research method of Action Research is seen as more suitable than conventional research.

‘Action Research’ is driven by the motivation of improving a current situation and is commonly used in healthcare and education. It is about practical outcomes in specific situations and, unlike conventional academic research, not to just serve knowledge. The purpose is to produce practical knowledge that is useful to people in the everyday conduct of their lives (Reason & Bradbury, 2006). This is seen as Participatory Action Research.

Action research is an ongoing process that requires planning, action, observation, and reflection.

There are many models for this type of research. In this case, the model of Kemmis & McTaggart (2007) is used because it represents the greater depth of knowledge which is achieved at each level. This model is shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12: Action Research Spiral Source: (Kemmis & McTaggart, 2007)

This means that the plan is revised through several iterations based on new observations and conclusions each time.

To answer the determined research questions a clear process needs to be followed to maintain overview. This also enables others to check the validity and traceability of the outcomes. This is shown in Figure 13.



Figure 13: Thesis research model Own work, derived from: (Brugman & Vermeer, 2016; Kemmis & McTaggart, 2007);



The process of this research is comparable with a product development process since it will evaluate the current product (TSP) and develop a variant. This process is divided in six phases:

1. Situation analysis 2. Strategy

3. Creation process 4. Development phase 5. Realization phase 6. Market diffusion phase

This research has been carried out until the realisation phase. The end conclusions of this thesis need to be assessed by the administration of TSP. They will decide whether to implement or not and if so, how to develop further.

The main sources for this report are Avans Kaluga, Google Scholar, the website of Spatial Agency and The World Bank. The World Bank is the biggest institution on development aid with the main objective to end poverty and has a broad research database. Spatial Agency has a vast database of leading building and space concepts and architects.

Sub question 1: Which factors are critical in constructing houses to obtain a Sustainable livelihood for the Semai community?

Type of knowledge required to answer question: descriptive Literature

The research objective Sustainable livelihood is a complex framework and needs to be proper defined and reflected to the Semai community. Literature research will give a clear definition of the term and in combination with in field experiences provide boundaries for further research.

Key words for finding literature:

 Sustainable livelihood

 Threats

 Vulnerabilities

 Orang Asli

 Semai

Sub question 2: What measures could be taken to increase participation of local inhabitants of Kg. Bt. 17 in constructing their own houses?

Type of knowledge required to answer question: prescription Literature

Key words for finding literature:

 Level of participation

 Participation indigenous people

 Community participation



 Factors of participation Field interview

Experience has learnt that a survey for the Semai is too difficult due to illiteracy or withdrawnness of the people. Therefore, personal, face to face interviews need to be held. Following the advice of Dr. Wan, questionnaires for the Semai people are made in a format suitable for quantitative research. This requires structured interview method. In the village of Bt. 17 an interview with 23 questions has been held in Bahasa Malaysia. Each interview took about ten minutes and consists of seven dichotomous questions, seven closed multiple choice questions, seven multiple scale questions using Likert-scale (Vagias, 2006), and two open questions. The questions were carefully translated to Bahasa Malaysia and put in a mobile app. This makes gathering and processing the data easier. A copy of the questionnaire can be found in (Appendix 3).


The method of observation is chosen for the following reasons:

 The use of the research method of observation is chosen to capture behavior. People are often not aware of their own behavior.

 The research question requires a determination of the current knowledge and skills and the effectiveness of transfer. These subjects will be both asked during field interviews, but it is a phenomenon which can be difficult to self-assess.

 The respondents need to be studied in their own habitat. All project activities with the participants will take place in the village. Therefore it is obvious to gather behavior data in their own habitat.

 It is likely that respondents might describe their behavior differently than in reality.

The community of Kg. Bt. 17 is relatively remote and interaction with other Malaysians is limited. It is likely for respondents to under- or overestimate their own knowledge and skills in front of an outsider, especially a Western foreigner.

Observation of the people in Kg. 17 is specific and might not be applicable to all Semai people.

Therefore any conclusions and recommendations are specific for these villages, although with the support of literature, field and expert interviews serve as guidelines for further research. The observation method in this research will be that of Participatory Observation. I will participate in construction to form an accurate and focused picture of the behavior. In this case, undercover research is not possible since it is a closed community.

Sub question 3: How can the building-knowledge and skills be shared with the Semai people?

Type of knowledge required to answer question: prescription

Sub questions 2 and 3 are strongly related to each other. Analysing behaviour according to these questions can be done at the same time.



First of all it is important to do background research about the Semai people. Their behavior and capabilities may be strongly related to their culture. Therefore, the method of knowledge transfer and participation is be context specific.

Field research enables focus on TSP, in particular since the output will be implemented in the same place or similar as where the data is gathered.


Key words for finding literature:

 Knowledge transfer/ sharing

 Skills transfer/ sharing

 Level of learning

 Traditional knowledge Orang Asli

 Orang Asli education Observation

As described before under Sub question 2, observation will give the opportunity to capture behavior of a specific group.


An experiment will be conducted to test the effectiveness of an instruction manual in knowledge and skills transfer. The demand for a manual came from the TSP organization. The use of a manual could clarify the building method among the volunteers or even function as a self-build manual for the owner. Initially it would be tested for three units; one without help, one with a manual, and one with a manual and assistance. Although due to circumstances beyond the control of this research only the latter was conducted. Also, the use of the manual was assessed at a later visit to the village.

Expert interview

Literature about successful knowledge and skills sharing in this context is little, especially by the method of manuals. Therefore, an expert-interview with NGO worker Henk Meijerink is

transcripted and analysed to gain further conclusions. This interview is conducted by Eefje Hendriks and is semi-structured.

Answering the main research question and provide advisory report

Based on the conclusions drawn from the answers to the sub questions, an answer can be provided to the main research question. This results in a set of recommendations for the organization.



2. Literature review

2.1. Critical factors of sustainable livelihood in context of housing

Which factors are critical in constructing houses to obtain a Sustainable livelihood for the Semai community?

As described in the Objectives, the framework of Sustainable Livelihood will be used. Figure 14 visualised this concerning the Semai people of Bt. 17 within the scope of this research. Central to this framework are the Semai people with their Livelihood Assets, which defines the capabilities and resilience. This consists of five capitals: Human, Natural, Financial, Physical and Social. As clarified in this framework, just obtaining a certain capital does not necessary result in a desired outcome. It depends on many other factors.

Figure 14: Sustainable Livelihood framework of Semai people Own work, derived from: (DFID, 1999)

2.1.1. Livelihood assets and its vulnerabilities

Vulnerability context comprises of shocks, trends and seasonality and can have direct positive or negative impact on the Semai livelihood assets, both predictable and unpredictable. Therefore, it is useful to map some of those which can affect the Livelihood assets regarding housing for Semai.

Human Capital

The seasonal trend of lowered school attendance affects the Human Capital. For most Semai their main source of income is fruit collected from the forest (Appendix 1; Appendix 6). This has such importance that during the harvest season a lot of movement and truancy from school is noted (Dentan, Endicott, Gomes, & Hooker, 1997).

Natural Capital

Deforestation by commercial logging, commercial agricultural business, mining, infrastructure, mega dams, and urban development forms a major threat for the resources of the Semai since they are considered Ecology-Based Communities (EBC). For many years, Orang Asli are threatened by deforestation. Malaysia has lost 14.4% of its forests from 2000-2012, which is the highest of the world (Yong, Sarawakians Access, & Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia, 2014). This continues with an annual rate of 2%. The Orang Asli have no any influence on logging



decisions even when they concern Orang Asli reserves (Dentan et al., 1997). Moreover, according to Saedah the Orang Asli around Tapah need to ask permission to cut down trees. This

complicates the accessibility of their natural resources.

Financial Capital

The twelve applicants of TSP in Kg. 17 had an average monthly income of 540RM (120 USD) (Appendix 6), compared to the national average of 2,300RM (515USD) (Kei, 2016). Inflation and Goods and Service Tax (GST) puts pressure on the affordability of the resources for the Semai, which causes a lowered financial capital. The rising resource costs has also put pressure on TSP.

According to Dr. Wan, the price of one unit with 1000RM (225USD) within a few years.

Physical Capital

TSP provides an improved Physical capital through the private sector. This thesis can provide a Livelihood Strategy which leads to the given outcomes. This will strengthen the Livelihood Assets and the position of the Semai.

Secure shelter and buildings are part of the Physical Capital. The DFID report also notes that infrastructure commonly is a public good used without direct payment, with the exception of shelter, although it states that direct supply of physical goods to the poor can be problematic.

Therefore it states the following:

The emphasis is on providing a level of service that not only meets the immediate requirements of users but is affordable in the long term. It can also be important to provide simultaneous support to skill- and capacity-development to ensure effective management by local communities. (DFID, 1999, sec. 2)

The high population growth of Orang Asli also affects the Physical Capital. Despite health issues, high level of infant mortality, and migration, the Orang Asli has a relatively high population growth (Masron, Masami, & Ismail, 2013). In Perak state the OA population growth in 2010 was 28.4%, while the growth of the whole population of Perak was only 1.4% (Saw & Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2015). Dr. Wan confirms this and says the Semai usually have big families up to ten children (Appendix 2). This causes a higher demand of new houses; e.g. Physical capital.

Social Capital

Legally the Orang Asli are still in a weak position. The government has a long history of a paternalistic approach to convert all Orang Asli into Malaysians by regroupment and Islamic conversion (Dentan et al., 1997). On 13 September 2007, Malaysia adopted the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People (2008). The declaration states that it is the people’s right to have housing and be involved in the process of development. “Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories, and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired”(United Nations Declaration, 2008, p. 10). Still, the Orang Asli are forced to be part of a state in which they have little influence (Nordin & Witbrodt, 2012). The lack of actual permanent recognition by the government of their lands prevents Orang Asli from further development. Moreover, politicians have the most misconceptions and erroneous perceptions of the Orang Asli and the Orang Asli situation (Nicholas, 2010). Also, the government always had a



paternalistic approach with JAKOA more functioning as a collaborator instead of an advocate for the Orang Asli (Nicholas, 2010).

Figure 15: Semai child Source: Dr. Wan

2.1.2. Sustainable livelihood of comparable Orang Asli community

In the journal article “Factors that contribute to sustainable livelihood of the Orang Asli communities” (Kamil et al., 2011) six Orang Asli fishing villages are analysed on sustainable livelihood. This is a different Orang Asli tribe, but with a comparable income. This article

suggested that higher level of education and income relates to sustainable livelihood among the Orang Asli. Negative relations include main job, marital status and dependents. It suggests to help the very poor first to prevent destruction of their environment. Also, it suggests self-reliant

development be emphasised, but:

 within natural resource constraints;

 development is cost-effective;

 should not degrade environmental quality;

 should not reduce productivity in the long run (Kamil et al., 2011).

2.1.3. Link with participation and skill transfer

The framework shows that in the process of sustainable livelihoods feedback loops are essential.

The achievement of livelihood outcomes generates positive feedback to the livelihood assets, which creates a vicious circle. Participatory approaches are essential to establish users’ priorities and needs (DFID, 1999). This will be further discussed in the section ‘Participation’. The physical asset of sufficient sustainable housing would require participation and, by preference, provide simultaneous support to skill- and capacity-development (DFID, 1999).



2.1.4. Conclusion

For this section the following research question was used: Which factors are critical in

constructing houses to obtain a Sustainable livelihood for the Semai community? Most of the factors of a sustainable livelihood, even to subject of housing, are outside the reach of the organization. Based on the literature, the legal status of the Orang Asli is very concerning since there is a major gap between policy and actual realisation. The priority of Semai is mostly their agricultural activities, since it’s their only source of income. Also, a higher level of income would relate to sustainable livelihood, but is outside the scope of this research. Negative relations include main job, marital status and dependents.

Literature does emphasise that in action of a Sustainable Livelihood the priority is to help the poorest of the community to prevent any environmental destruction. Since a higher level of education relates to sustainable livelihood, the high dropout rate of Orang Asli students is very concerning. The physical asset of sufficient sustainable housing would require participation and, by preference, provide simultaneous support to skill- and capacity-development. These

requirements are both discussed in sections 2.2 and 2.3.

2.2. Participation of Semai people in constructing their own houses

What measures could be taken to increase participation of local inhabitants of Kg. Bt. 17 in constructing their own houses?

2.2.1. Definition and importance of participation

Although difficult to safeguard the interests of indigenous people it is critical to use a participatory approach, which is supported by major donors and international organizations.

(Davis & Soefestad, 1995). The Sustainable Livelihood Guidance Sheets even states that only participatory methodologies are effective to eliminate poverty in a livelihood approach (DFID, 1999). The definition of participation varies depending on the discipline and research objectives.

In this research, it can be defined as: “taking responsibility with authority in partnership with other stakeholders” (Hamdi, 2014, p. 60). Nabeel Hamdi is one of the pioneers of participatory planning and outlines the importance of it in “The spacemaker’s guide to big change” (2014):

It is both efficient and equitable and fundamental to building community which is equivalent to building the social economy of place and not just the market economy – that is the economy of assets, tangible and intangible, necessary for well-being and for sustaining livelihoods. It is fundamental for human development expanding people’s freedoms and choices and their capacity to lead lives that they value. (Hamdi, 2014) Another pioneer of the dweller participation is N. John Habraken. The practice of TSP has some clear similarities with his theory of dweller participation. In ‘De dragers en de mensen: Het einde van de massawoningbouw’ (N. Habraken, 1961), later translated as ‘Supports: an alternative to mass housing’ (J. N. Habraken, 1972), he criticizes the repetitive, massive, homogeneous constructions. He proposed to separate the ‘support’ and ‘infill’. In this theory the state should



provide the ‘support’, while the infill is done by small-scale parties. The ‘support’ is resembled by structure provided by the TSP organization which is a simple house without any walls and windows. The infill is done or organized by the local people, as shown in Figure 16. The large difference here is that Habraken bases his theory on modern Western countries with very socio- economic statuses.

2.2.2. Activities of organic participation

The TSP can be seen as organic participation, because it is driven by social movement.

Furthermore, it is driven by intrinsically motivated local actors, rather than by policy actions of the state and implemented by bureaucracies which is the case with induced participation (Mansuri &

Rao, 2012). According to Mansuri & Rao, this kind of participation is effective because they arise endogenously and are leaded by highly motivated people.

The report gave a pragmatic description of the actual activities of participation that include:

 participation in decision making through consultative processes or deliberative bodies without the authority to make or veto resource allocation decisions;

 the contribution of cash, material goods, or physical labor to construct public goods or provide public services;

 the monitoring and sanctioning of public and private service providers;

 the provision of information and involvement in awareness-raising activities;

 the formation of neighbourhood committees (for instance, to reduce crime or resolve local conflicts);

 and the selection or election of local representatives.

TSP is mostly, regarding the owner, contribution of cash, material goods and physical labour.

2.2.3. Participation through co-financing

Co-financing is seen as essential for participatory projects, but can exclude the poor. Therefore, it might not be possible for the poorest to contribute financially. Contribution of material goods or physical can be possible. However, critics see this as an egregious tax on the poor (Mansuri &

Rao, 2012).

As the report states, for physical labour contribution to take place, the individual has to weigh the cost of time, social costs and psychic costs. The report also states, for an individual to participate it has to weigh the cost of time, social costs and psychic costs. For the Semai to make time, they have to consider the value of the participation to their other activities. For instance, during harvest season (especially in the morning) people have a higher preference for picking fruit than

participating in construction.

Any cash or material payoff during the project induces people to participate, but the effects tend to dissolve when the incentives are withdrawn (Mansuri & Rao, 2012). According to the report, positive effects will only occur when “projects explicitly link community-based organizations with markets, or provide skills training, do they tend to improve group cohesiveness and collective action beyond the life of the project” (Mansuri & Rao, 2012, p. 5).



Figure 16: House owner making wall infill Source: Dr. Wan, taken on 16-08-2016

2.2.4. Main elements of participatory action with indigenous people

Davis & Soefestad researched more specifically for indigenous people the key elements in a participatory approach. These elements are supplemented and visualised in Figure 17.

Participatory action through housing can increase the social capital, since it strengthens the relation between vertical and horizontal networks and connections.

Figure 17: Conceptual model of key elements in

Participatory Action with indigenous people Own work, derived from Davis & Soefestad (1995)

As described before in the previous section, Orang Asli suffer from a weak legal position with a threatened habitat, which impedes a participatory approach. Unfortunately, this is mostly outside the reach of the project.

Through history, Semai have been affected by many encounters with outsiders, which were usually not in their benefit. Therefore, gaining trust from them is vital before any action to take place. Most people speak Bahasa Malaysia, but communication in their local language can also greaten the trust of outsiders (Davis & Soefestad, 1995).

Traditionally, Semai are led by a body made up of elderly members of the community (Masron et al., 2013). This is a strong social structure, especially in more rural areas, which can be used in participatory action.



Indirect funding of projects can lead to reduced benefit to indigenous people due to bureaucracy and corruption. TSP is a small organization where all the money goes into the projects and is therefore performing well.

2.2.5. Conclusion

For this section the following research question was used: What measures could be taken to increase participation of local inhabitants of Kg. Bt. 17 in constructing their own houses?

Concluded from the literature review six important measures came forward to increase participation in the context of this thesis:

 Downward accountability through cultural appropriate communication is essential.

 Use existing strong traditional structure of the community for participatory action.

 Contribution through co-financing is essential for participatory projects, but can also be done through materials and labour.

 Positive effects in case of cash or material payoff can only occur when community-based organizations are linked with markets or when skills training is provided.

 Time, social costs and psychic costs of individuals should be taken in advance in any planning.

 Pay attention to those who tend to be excluded by inequality of gender, age and income.

2.3. Aim and factors of knowledge and skills sharing

How can the building-knowledge and skills be shared with the Semai people?

2.3.1. Definition and importance of ‘knowledge and skills sharing’

From the observations and the organization’s perspective a different designation of the initial term ‘knowledge transfer’ is preferred. In the majority of proceedings in TSP the organization and its volunteers have a dominant role compared to the locals. However, many Semai are

knowledgeable in local craftsmanship which is unfamiliar with non-Semai people. Their knowledge and skills can also be transferred to the volunteers. Therefore, the definition of knowledge and skills sharing is preferred.

Many factors, both individual and organizational, influence the success of knowledge sharing. It involves a relationship between actors that is also embedded in a structure of other social relationship (Boer, Van Baalen, & Kumar, 2004). The World Bank defined Knowledge Sharing as:

“The systematic capture of knowledge from research and experience; organization and storage of knowledge and information for easy access; and transfer/dissemination of knowledge, often in a two-way exchange” (Gwin, 2003)

In this research, two types of knowledge and skills sharing need to be differentiated. The sharing between the organization and Semai people and between Semai people themselves.



2.3.2. Aim of level of knowledge transfer using Bloom’s Taxonomy

The goal in answering this sub question is to make recommendations for knowledge and skills transfer to a certain level. The Bloom’s Taxonomy is widely used in the classification of knowledge transfer in education. Under the leadership of Dr. Benjamin Bloom, three domains in education are:

 Cognitive: mental skills (knowledge);

 Affective: growth in feelings or emotional areas (attitude or self);

 Psychomotor: manual or physical skills (skills).

As described in the sub question, this research will focus on knowledge and skills. A side note must be placed that most models of these domains focus on higher education.

To assess the current state of knowledge and skills of the local people, the research methods of observation, infield interviews and experiments are chosen. This forms a non-unilateral view of the capabilities of the Semai people and supply data for further conclusions and recommendations, supported by literature.

The most well-known model for the cognitive domain is Bloom’s Taxonomy, which is visualised in Figure 18. This is a list of a classification of learning activities with a degree of difficulty. The first ones must be normally mastered before the next one can take place.

Figure 18: Bloom’s taxonomy Source: (Bloom, 1956) Figure 19: Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy

Source: (Anderson, Krathwohl, & Bloom, 2001)

This model has been criticized by many and has been reviewed in the mid-nineties by Lorin Anderson, a former student of Dr. Bloom. This model is visualised in Figure 19 and is more known as the Bloom’s Taxonomy and widely used in Education.

The goal of this thesis is to provide recommendations to reach the level of “Applying”. This implies that the person understands what has been taught and knows how to apply it in new situations. It is desired that local people are able to replicate the houses themselves which were built with instructions from outsiders.

The domain ‘Psychomotor’ has not been further developed by the committee of Bloom. However, there are multiple models developed by other researchers. In this thesis the model of Dave (1970)







Creating Evaluating

Analysing Applying Understanding




is being used since it fits the required basic skills the most. These levels of psychomotor skills are showed in Table 1.

Table 1

Level Definition Key Words

1. Imitate

Observe a skill and attempt to repeat it, or see a finished product and attempt to replicate it while attending to an exemplar.

Copy, follow, mimic, repeat, replicate, reproduce, trace

2. Manipulate

Perform the skill or produce the product in a recognizable fashion by following general instructions rather than observation.

Act, build, execute, perform

3. Precision

Independently perform the skill or produce the product, with accuracy, proportion, and exactness; at an expert level.

Calibrate, demonstrate, master, perfectionism

4. Articulation

Modify the skill or product the product to fit new situations; combine more than one skill in sequence with harmony and consistency.

Adapt, constructs, combine, creates, customize, modifies, formulate

5. Naturalization

Completion of one or more skills with ease and making the skill automatic with limited physical or mental exertion.

Create, design, develop, invent, manage, naturally

Source: (Dave, 1970)

2.3.3. Use of traditional knowledge of Semai

A scientific article by Kardooni, Kari, Yahaya, & Yusup found that the Orang Asli have a variety of traditional knowledge in their livelihood. There was also a direct relationship found between age and knowledge: the older the generation, the higher the knowledge (Kardooni, Kari, Yahaya, &

Yusup, 2014). Concerning housing, 25.9% of them had “knowledge on forest resources and conservation”. The article suggests an increase of knowledge of the Orang Asli about the forests will benefit both their lives and sustainable natural resources, especially the younger generation.



2.3.4. Factors of knowledge sharing

Knowledge sharing has many factors to succeed. Directly related to the people it includes individual factors, organizational factors and social relationships. This knowledge sharing links to the human capital (Almeida, Behrman, & Robalino, 2012). This is visualised in Figure 20.


Figure 20: Conceptual model of Knowledge Sharing, derived from

Own work, dirived from: (Boer et al., 2004)

In a World Bank report recommendations are done for training policies and programs in

developing countries. According to this report, three types of interventions can be distinguished:

 Pre-employment technical and vocational education and training (TVET);

 On-the-job training (OJT);

 Training-related active labour market programs (ALMPs) (Almeida et al., 2012).

In this case the method of OJT is used. This can be done through the methods:

 Peer Assist

 After Action Review

 Storytelling

 Mentoring

 Coaching

2.3.5. Conclusion

For this section the following research question was used: How can the building-knowledge and skills be shared with the Semai people?

TSP suggested to use a construction manual as a Sharing Method. However, there is very little known of this method in literature and will be therefore further complemented in section 3.2.



3. Research results 3.1. Participation

What measures could be taken to increase participation of local inhabitants of Kg. Bt. 17 in constructing their own houses?

3.1.1. Participatory observation

Change of required contribution in the same village, like in Bt. 17, can be critical. This can lead to trouble asking people for physical effort in communities that that have grown accustomed to receiving free benefits (Mansuri & Rao, 2012). Signs of this phenomenon have been reported in Bt. 17, where people were expecting a group of volunteers from their earlier experience with TSP.

An understanding of cultural and community structures is essential to plan action in the community. Poor communication through this structure will result in uncertainties in localising the right people and resources. In Bt. 17, Tok Batin2 is the head of the village and manages all big events and decisions. The importance of this When starting construction, it became clear that there was no drill equipment available, which is essential for the building method. I asked around many times and nobody seemed to be able to arrange it until I asked Tok Batin. Within 30 minutes he arranged it and it was delivered the next morning. Also, my coming to the village September 29 wasn’t clearly communicated with Tok Batin. Nobody seemed to know why I was there which gave difficulties in localising and encouraging people. Therefore, the understanding of community structures is especially needed for participating people.

Priority of durian collection is first, since it’s their main source of income. Therefore workforce from young men is scarce in the morning and afternoon.

The involvement of women in the building process is limited. Like many tribes, the Semai have a traditional household where the men provide income and the women take care of the children.

Usually only men, according to Dr. Wan, have building experience. On such a small scale of few houses, it might be too comprehensive to take action in this division.

The majority of the Semai in Bt. 17 is adherent to Christianity and a small portion of the

population is Muslim. Also, there is a Church and Surau3 which is shown in Figure 21. This is a part of their cultural identity which can be a big motivation in participation (Mansuri & Rao, 2012).

Although initiatives through religion can cause exclusion.

2 Local name for chief of the village

3 Islamic assembly building (



Figure 21: A Surau Own work, taken on 30-09-2016



3.1.2. Structured field interview

The infield interviews were executed by a local (Chriss, 20 years old) with 21 responses. The used questionnaire and gathered data can be found in Appendix 3. With a population of around 300 people this amount of responses would deliver, when using a confidence level of 90%, an error margin of 17.34%. This is much bigger than the usual 5%. Although it would not be confident enough to deliver good output, it does give some interesting insights.

Individuals are embedded, especially the Semai, in strong social communities which makes the decision to participate in group activities a cooperative social cost. A staggering 83% of the Semai in Bt. 17 would help other families in construction.

Figure 22: Structured field interview, question 18 Source:Appendix 3

People are willing to participate, as long as it doesn’t clash with their work. According to the infield interviews, 68% would definitely consider to participate in construction. Many people get their income from selling fruit they collected in the jungle.

The men go into the forest in the early morning and sometimes only come back after a few days.

During the analysis from July to October it was durian season. The fruit has a high value and is sold by the roadside and to middlemen. Most of the food and daily supplies still need to be bought. Logically, the time of collecting fruit is very precious and is rarely skipped.

Figure 23: Structured field interview, question 14 Source: Appendix 3

Financial contribution by the owner is difficult. From the infield interviews, none of the respondents were willing to contribute financially when participating. This is also stated by Ghazala Mansuri and Vijayendra Rao (2012) that it can exclude the poorest, although it is seen as essential for participatory projects. Most of them said “not to have any money”. Any financial contribution would require a big change in their household management.

16% no 84% yes

Would you help other families in building?






Would you be willing to participate in building?

1 - Would not consider/ Tidak 2 - Definitely consider/ Ya

2 - Might or might not consider/


3 - Definitely consider 3 - Definitely consider/ Ya



In the current method of TSP, the participants are paid 500RM (110USD). Semai people were asked if they would still participate if they would not be paid. Surprisingly, 64% would still participate without payment.

Figure 24: Structured field interview, question 16 Source: Appendix 3

A different expectation level and an overload of volunteers leads to reduction of participation in constructing. During visits to the village, there were many more volunteers than needed. Also, culturally Semai people are reserved (Dentan et al., 1997), which resulted in a passive position of the owners during the project.

3.1.3. Expert interview

“Orang Asli’s main concern is survival” – Dr. Wan

A level of expectation from outsiders is also noted by Dr. Wan. This became clear when asked if it is perceived as normal for them to receive a house:

“It is normal to receive. There are many NGO [in the region]. It’s something to dislike. It’s okay to find sponsorship, but not to build it fully. JAKOA is hiring contractors for the building. Its more building for them, there should be a sense of belongingship”.

The presence of other NGO’s might influenced the expectations of the Semai people, which strongly affects the participation in TSP.

Co-finance is seen as essential in literature, but this seems not possible according to the structured field interviews. Dr. Wan says the following as reasons:

“It depends on the capacity of each family. It depends on the amount of members of family. By having the small 16x20’ is sufficient and build as they go along. They collect fruit in the morning.

Only after lunch time is available. […] Orang Asli’s main concern is survival”.

In the current method of TSP the participants are being paid. According to literature, as stated in section 2.2.3, this is effective for people to participate, but the positive effects might not stay for the long term. Dr. Wan explains the necessity of this cause:

“You want them to participate, but they don’t know what they get out of it. They have to buy a majority of their food from outside”.

This also confirms that the Semai people have more (of which some more important) priorities and that strong downward accountability is desired.

36% no 64% yes

Would you still participate without compensation?



3.2. Knowledge and skills transfer

How can the building-knowledge and skills be shared with the Semai people?

The results of the infield interviews showed that 90% of the people have building experience and 86% would like to learn new building skills (Appendix 3). This gives the impression that the Semai are knowledgeable with building and eager to learn and participate.

3.2.1. Participatory observation

The main findings based on observations Kampung Batu 17, 29-09-2016 (Appendix 4):

 The people of Kg Bt 5 are well known with the given building techniques and are willing to participate when they are done with their agricultural activities, which is usually in the afternoon.

 Semai people are capable to mobilise materials quickly to remote locations, with the exception of plywood.

 Putting out an exact rectangular grid can be difficult for Orang Asli. Caution is needed.

Preferably done by someone with experience.

 Semai are capable of setting out grid, digging, using a spirit level and levelling using a hose filled with water.

 Imperial system can be a bit confusing sometimes. Also, two systems on one measurement tape is confusing.

 Semai don’t use bolt and nut connections in their traditional building method, but are familiar with it. Wrenches are present, but no drills.

 An electric drill is much more used preferably over a hand drill.

 Semai are capable of understanding simple sketches made on site. This sketch is showed in Figure 25.

 Semai are very familiar in making concrete. The particular sand is collected by women and the cement is made by men with shovels.

 The concept of the design is understood, but in detail some wooden parts are used differently.

 Simple appointments can be made.

 Minor changes in execution can extend the durability.



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