The Workshop on Increasing the Role of Regional Governments in Executing Community-based Poverty Alleviation Programs (PKPM) was attended by participants from seven regencies/cities in Central Java. It was held in Semarang, Central Java, on August 26-27, 2014. On the second day participants formed a forum group discussion (FGD) to talk about dividing the government’s roles, expected results, and a schedule for implementation. The participants drafted the action plan by involving the 10 components prioritized in the Village Law:
1. Budget allocation and fund distribution mechanism
2. Village assistance
3. Village planning and budgeting
4. System and mechanism for good governance
5. Community institutions
6. Community asset management
7. Mainstreaming ministry programs and village-based institutions
8. Village budget management
9. Increasing the capabilities of program executors
10. Information system
Sujana Royat is Deputy Minister of the Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare for Poverty Alleviation. He explained that Central Java is a model of decentralization for PNPM Mandiri. He suggested that other places could learn from Central Java. Aceh is planned to be the next pilot location.
Regarding self-reliant villages, the government is committed to bring down the poverty number and to expand the program so it can cover more poor villagers.
The governor of Central Java will lead the activities to increase the role of regional governments. He will also work as the head of the Regional Oversight Committee in Central Java, with support from the national committee.
“We can’t apply the same community empowerment activities all over the country, from Aceh all the way to Papua. The inclusion of local wisdom is necessary. With decentralization, communities will have a sense of belonging to the program,” Sujana said.
Rudy S. Prawiradinata, Director for Poverty Alleviation at Bappenas, said that the effort is in line with the draft of the National Mid-term Development Plan (RPJMN). The draft ensures that regional governments will have a greater role in supporting their communities to be self-reliant.
“We’re planning to have a discussion with the transition team of the newly elected president (Jokowi – JK) to talk about community empowerment,” said Rudy.
Assistance and monitoring
The central government is in charge of creating guidelines and a community assistance budget, including remuneration and operational costs, as well as to provide community assistants. It is recommended that the community assistants be recruited from the 2014 DIPA.
“Our commitment is the same. In Bappenas, we include community empowerment in our national planning (RPJM) as a way to alleviate poverty. We have learned a lot from PNPM,” said Rudy S. Prawiradinata.
As a transition mechanism for the Village Law, PNPM Mandiri includes community assistance among its components. PNPM facilitators are prepared to assist village governments in creating a village plan and budget. Other PNPM institutions are also involved in the planning, budgeting, and implementation for development.
The workshop participants recommended that Team 11 outline RPJMDes/RKPDes. The verification team will help the sub-district head to evaluate the village budget (APBDes) with support from other teams concerned with implementation, supervision, and monitoring.
The participants recommended that provincial governments provide funds to hire assistants with professional contracts in the 2015 provincial budget (ABPD). These assistants should include technical assistants, consultants, and civil servants working with communities (setrawan).
The provincial government should also be responsible for selecting, mobilizing, and evaluating the work of the assistants under professional contract with the regency. The regency/city governments should be involved in the process. The provincial government will sign the work contracts (SPKK) and distribute payments to the assistants at regency and village levels. This system is expected to ensure that the payments are made in a timely manner.
Ganjar Pranowo, Central Java’s governor, said that without community assistance the extraordinary potential of villages would be lost.
During a dialog with the community, the governor stressed that the main problems with developing small businesses lies in financing, market, and quality control. Ganjar expected community assistants to be recruited from PNPM Mandiri.
“Community assistance is important,” said the governor, who is also a former member of the House of Representatives.
The workshop participants suggested that the regency/city governments map the needs as well as the supply of technical assistants and setrawan. They also recommended the regency/city governments create a monthly report about the assistance activity as well as its progress, budget usage, problems, and recommendations.
Regarding good governance, supervision, and monitoring, the participants recommended an action plan to outline regulations and guidelines. The Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare will be responsible for the regulation of oversight, monitoring, and good governance.
The participants also recommended that the provincial government coordinate program monitoring, supervision, and auditing under the governor’s regulation. When implemented, all levels of government must work together to train, monitor, and evaluate community assistance activities.
“Supervising the budget usage in villages shouldn’t be only about how it is spent or based on physical results. It should be more about whether it benefits the community or not,” said Pamuji Lestari, Deputy Assistant for Community Empowerment at the Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare.
When people encounter problems during the implementation of PKPM, they should be able to report it to a complaint handling team assigned by regency/city governments. The regents and mayors will support the monitoring, evaluation, and supervision of PKPM. TKPKD should be ready to compile integrated, valid, and up-to-date data.
The provincial government recommended a web-based community reporting system. Governors can read the reports directly and will have a special team to handle the report. Communities can send their reports to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The easiest monitoring is through emails. The reporting will include photos showing the project before, during, and after it is done. The progress should be reported weekly to the governor. When there’s a problem, the supervision should be done daily,” Ganjar explained.
Promoting the Village Law
Promoting the Village Law is a priority for PKPM. The central government should soon outline its communication concept and strategy to promote the law to all program executors, from provincial levels to village levels.
The information system should consider practices that have been working in villages. If a village has a good information system already, then it will just need support for further development.
“We will create an information system for these seven regencies/cities. I want to supervise it directly by visiting each place on a regular basis. We will see the action plan, and the steps, then create the system,” said governor Ganjar Pranowo.
Central Java’s governor will direct the implementation of PKPM in poor villages. When selecting pilot locations for PKPM, the government will need to consider comparing poor with developed villages. In the future, evaluation will be needed to measure changes in poverty numbers.
The workshop participants agreed on the priority list. Further discussion is needed for the following: Creating structural steps for central-provincial governments, the PNPM mechanism to implement the village law, the Village Law socialization, recruitment of community assistants supported by budget and capacity improvements, PNPM training for the Village Law implementation, and training for village officials.
At the close of the discussion an action plan was signed. The aim of the plan is to to increase the role of regional governments as part of a national movement for community empowerment toward self-reliant villages in the province of Central Java. Representatives from the seven regencies/cities signed the plan.
The representatives included: Djuwarni, Regent Deputy of Kebumen; Amrin Maruf from Banyumas; Wawang Wahyudi from Banjarnegara; Arida Hastuti from Cilacap; Agus Subagyo from Wonosobo; Said Ramadhan from Purworejo; and Prayitno from Purbalingga.
The signing involved Ganjar Pranowo, governor of Central Java, Sujana Royat, Deputy Minister of the Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare, and Rudy S. Prawiradinata, Director for Poverty Alleviation at Bappenas.
The action plan highlighted the test concept of community empowerment implementation, guidelines, and policy that is integrated with the concept of self-reliant villages regarding the implementation of the Village Law. All parties attending the workshop also approved the role division and the action plan, which includes the 10 components of community empowerment. The plan will be carried out jointly by the central government, the Central Java provincial government, and the regency governments.
In his speech, the governor said that he wished to build awareness among villagers regarding political education. He said that they need to understand the importance of the planning process to achieve sustainable development. The planning should include cultural values and be done through community meetings. Communities should be able to be part of the solution of problems in their village.
“If you need to fix the road in the village, speak at the community meeting. Explain how important it is. If they ask about funds, there will be a lot of money in 2015. If someone asks for the money now, tell him that he can’t have it. Everything should be planned,” Ganjar explained.
Following this workshop, two other workshops were held at regency levels. A workshop in Wonosobo covered three regencies: Wonosobo, Kebumen, and Purworejo. And a workshop in Banyumas covered Banyumas, Cilacap, Purbalingga, and Banjarnegara. These ensuing workshops discussed the ten components of the Village Law by inviting several village heads who have followed good practices. Among them were Bayu Setyo, the head of Dermaji Village, and Nugroho, who won the Young Leaders Award for the category of good governance from Berita Satu.
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