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Smart, partners launch Matigsalug app for Davao tribe

by Smart Communications | Sep 14, 2018
Young members of the Matigsalug tribe can now learn more about their language and culture through an app developed in partnership with Smart.
Smart, partners launch Matigsalug app for Davao tribe

Like other indigenous peoples in the Philippines, the Matigsalug tribe of Davao City faces the challenge of keeping its culture and traditions alive. As more of their young members adopt modern customs, Matigsalug elders resort to writing down their history and traditions in a logbook which they intend to physically pass on.

Now, they have a “high-tech” way of preserving their culture and enhancing the next generation’s literacy in the local tongue. Tribe elders have collaborated with PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications and other partners to develop a mobile application that teaches basic literacy in the Matigsalug language. Smart is donating tablets to the community to enable its members to use the app.

The Matigsalug app, now available for free download on Android devices, has interactive features teaching users how to pronounce letters properly and how to write the alphabet through tracing. It also teaches word association and how to count in Matigsalug.

Moreover, it lets users sing along to Matigsalug songs for children. It also features tribal dances and chants.

The project is part of Smart’s efforts to digitize educational content in local languages to help enhance learning among Filipino youth. Smart has already launched literacy apps in Cebuano and Arabic, and is currently working on a similar app for Kapampangan, Waray, Chavacano, and the Blaan and Tagakaulo indigenous peoples (IP) languages.

“Aside from studies showing that children learn better when they are taught using their mother tongue, there is also research showing that the managed use of digital learning tools and content can improve their literacy skills and heighten their interest in learning. This is why we have partnered with different local government units, local divisions of the Department of Education, schools, and developers to create literacy apps in different local languages,” said Smart Public Affairs Senior Manager Stephanie Orlino.

For the Matigsalug app, Smart partnered with tribal members from Sitio Contract at the Marilog District in Davao City, as well as with the Pamulaan Center for IP Education for the provision of content.

Meanwhile, ACLC College of General Santos City and Davao City and Skeptron Business Solutions helped with the animation and digitization of content. For its part, Smart handled app development, trainings, and overall project management.

“(We are happy to work with Smart, Pamulaan Center, ACLC, and other agencies that helped in the development of this app. The success of this project shows how technology can help preserve and promote local culture and traditions. Not only will the app help young members of the Matigsalug tribe learn in a ‘high tech’ way; it will also help people from other areas understand and appreciate our culture better) Kami malipayon sa pakig-alayon sa Smart, Pamulaan Center, ACLC, ug uban pang laing ahensya nga mitabang aron sa pagbuhat ug paghuman sa maong proyekto. Kini nagapakita lamang nga ang paghuna-huna ug paggamit sa sakto sa mga bag-ong teknolohiya makatabang sa pagpabiling buhi sa amoang kultura ug kahibalo isip tribong Matigsalug. Dili lang alang kanamo ug sa amoang mga kabataan apan usab sa mga ubang grupo na makahibalo ug makasabot sa amoang kinabuhi, kultura, ug mga pagtoo,” said Datu Dionesio Siawan, a leader of the Matigsalug tribe.

"Working on this project has been a valuable experience for our young animators. We are proud to be part of this advocacy project of helping promote appreciation and preservation of our cultural communities using technology," said Maya Cartojano, president of ACLC General Santos City and Davao City.

For more information on Smart’s efforts to use technology for development, please visit the Smart Communities page on Facebook.