BASAibu connects communities across Indonesia through DO Impact

Basaibu Website
“Welcoming local language with as much inclusivity as we can and creating a safe space has enabled the wiki to thrive beyond our expectations. DigitalOcean has been with us for the entire journey, helping and supporting us to scale to 4 million users."
Alissa Stern, Co-Founder BASAibu

BASAibu operates in Indonesia. Its mission is to foster communities which can freely speak out about civic issues and be able to use their local languages. Their primary vehicle of engagement is a multilingual cultural wiki designed, populated, and used by the community to help the community satisfy its evolving community needs. The BASAbali wiki has engaged nearly 4 million people to date. BASAibu came to DigitalOcean through DO Impact, which provided them with cloud infrastructure credits through the program, DigitalOcean for Nonprofits and Social Enterprises, to host their wiki using Droplets and Volumes Block Storage. With DigitalOcean’s support, they have been able to scale to 4 million users with ease.

Preserving Indonesian language and empowering community

Indonesia has around 700 local languages, which is 10% of the world’s languages. But in our increasingly digital and connected world, standardization of language is happening, causing one language to disappear from the planet every two to three weeks. BASAibu, formally BASAbali, is focused on empowering young people to speak out and discuss civic issues in their native tongue, while also increasing inclusivity and saving native languages from extinction.

BASAibu had grassroots beginnings—they started as an online dictionary in 2014 that was community-developed through people sending in videos with words and context. After having thousands of people send in videos or thumb drives, the popularity of the site led users to ask for an evolving archive similar to Wikipedia. In response, they developed an encyclopedia in 2016 and added it to their dictionary. When COVID-19 hit BASAibu expanded their mission again, as one of their funders wanted to check on the community who had contributed to the encyclopedia and dictionary. This helped expand BASAibu into their third focus area, a community forum with local language discourse.

“The community responded immensely to our COVID-19 outreach with incredible sensitivity and empathy, leading our team to realize they could use this platform to ask for people’s opinions. And this morphed us into a public participation platform.” - Alissa Stern, Co-Founder BASAibu

From these successes, more global funders became interested in BASAibu’s work. In three short years, the platform grew from 1M users to almost 4M users. The impact they have seen from their work is threefold: increasing digital literacy within the community, increasing the number of people writing in Balinese, and increasing the number of Indonesian public officials using the wiki to ask for public opinion in local languages.

“We’re trying to create a different behavior that really values public discussion on the internet of civic issues and the use of local languages.” - Alissa Stern, Co-Founder BASAibu

In DigitalOcean we trust and scale

When BASAibu was started, they were hosted on a shared hosting platform, but their wiki was growing so quickly they knew they would need a more robust infrastructure to help support their scale. They were looking for a cloud provider that could grow with them, so they decided to spin up a DigitalOcean Droplet.

“We like DigitialOcean’s simplicity and better price predictability as compared to AWS. DigitalOcean gives us better control of our servers plus server stability with no random outages. This continuity of service is crucial, especially when we do an event with high-level policymakers and 400-500 students at a time. It is critical that we have robust and sustained service, and DO does not fail us. The option to leverage other DO services like containers and managed databases will also have a great positive impact in future.” - Alexey Klimovich, Developer

DigitalOcean has been a great platform to help BASAibu scale quickly. The developer team spends less time prototyping solutions because of DigitalOcean’s easy infrastructure management. Currently, they are using DigitalOcean Droplets for VPS hosting, Volumes Block Storage, and Snapshots backups to host their wiki and forums. As they scale and iterate their platform, they also plan to utilize DigitalOcean Managed Databases and explore containerization.

As a small nonprofit organization, technical resources and capacity is a challenge. To meet their cloud infrastructure needs, BASAibu applied to and was accepted into DigitalOcean’s previous product donation program, Hollie’s Hub for Good. The updated program, DigitalOcean for Nonprofits and Social Enterprises, offers up to $2,500 in free infrastructure credits to eligible organizations. In addition, BASAibu leveraged community resources, such as The Wave and the DigitalOcean Community, to scale successfully on DigitalOcean.

“Community resources are an awesome place to find information and the support was always good and responsive. The credits allow us to function. There were times when we did not have a budget to be able to pay for DigitalOcean and the credits allowed us to continue without suspending the wiki which was critical to build trust, support, and participation in the platform.” - Alexey Klimovich, Developer

Future plans to replicate success and impact

BASAibu’s long-term vision is to scale and replicate their wiki platform elsewhere in Indonesia, and perhaps outside of Indonesia as well. The organization started in Bali and has since expanded to South Sulawesi and soon to Kalimantan, Indonesia’s new capital. BASAibu has been very successful in creating immense groundswell around democratic discussions, and they hope to carry this success to other global areas with numerous local languages.

BASAibu is grateful for DigitalOcean, as they were in need of simple, cost-effective infrastructure and got the added benefit of credits through DO Impact. Providing support to tech organizations committed to doing good is a core part of DO Impact’s mission. DO Impact has also launched a skills-based volunteering project with BASAibu to leverage employee volunteers to help them redesign the website to increase and deepen engagement.

“Supporting nonprofits like BASAibu is one of the main objectives of DO Impact. By enabling the technology infrastructure for nonprofits and building their internal capacity through employee volunteers, we can drive scale and impact for communities.” - Admas Kanyagia


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