“We look like people from big cities,” said Pri Anton Subardi from Pangebatan Village in Banyumas. There was a sense of pride among village workers attending the DesTIKa Festival that they’re just as progressive as the people in the city.
DesTIKa, or the Village Communication and Information Technology Festival, was held on Sept. 26-27, 2014 in Tanjungsari Village, Sukahaji Sub-district, Majalengka, West Java. The first festival was held last August in Melung Village, Banyumas, Central Java. This year participants came from villages in 18 provinces, stretching from Gampong Cot Baroh, Pidie Regency in Aceh, all the way to Nurawi Miosindi Village, Yepen Regency in Papua.
“We have a policy to assist villagers so they can produce something and create income. We distributed computer sets, including modems, to 323 villages in 2010 so we can improve the communication between government institutions,” explained Sutrisno, regent of Majalengka.
The festival was hosted by the Ministry of Communication and Informatics in partnership with the community organization Gerakan Desa Membangun (GDM) and volunteers from Relawan TIK Majalengka, with support from PNPM Mandiri. The festival aimed to encourage a discussion about:
Development information system
Village information system
The optimizing of village websites
Available sources to support communication and information technology in rural areas
Branding and marketing for village products
The action plan for Village Law implementation
Possible utilization of village information technology
During the festival, six regional governments received awards for their work in developing the use of communication and information technology in rural areas. The awards were initiated by the Ministry of Communication and Informatics, and PANDI, the Indonesia Internet Domain Name Registry.
The six regional governments have been developing their villages by using the domain “Desa.id.” The awards were given to their representatives coming from these areas:
Gampong Cot Baroh, Pidie Regency, Aceh
Cikadu Village, Cianjur Regency, West Java
Bakbakan Village, Gianyar Regency, Bali
Batu Meranti Village, Tanah Bambu Regency, South Kalimantan
Lakawali Village, Luwu Timur Regency, South Sulawesi
Nurawi Miosindi Village, Yapen Regency, Papua
Awards were also given to Department of Transportation, Communication and Information (Dishubkominfo) located in these areas:
Majalengka Regency, West Java
Tanahbumbu Regency, South Kalimantan
The province of West Java
The province of South Kalimantan
Each volunteer received a pin, inserted by Majalengka regent, Director General for Informatics Applications (Dirjen Aptika), and Director for Informatics Development.
The volunteers, together with the community organization Lingkar Belajar Desa Membangun, have helped develop their villages by using communication and information technology.
At the festival villagers shared their experience and knowledge about managing the government and opening information access to the public by using information technology.
“Around 6,000 volunteers across Indonesia are ready to help,” said Septiana Tangkary, Director for Informatics Development at the Ministry of Communication and Informatics.
Bambang Heru Tjahjono is Director General for Informatics Application at the Ministry of Communication and Informatics. He said that he supports villages using communication and information technology for the purposes of building public awareness and sharing information, and that it is the goal of Indonesia to share a broadband network. He added that the technology is a part of the human rights to obtain information.
“People can acquire information about their property rights and obligations by using the technology. They can also control its usage so it can give benefits that they wish,” Bambang said.
Building internet network in self-reliant villages
Participants at the festival were excited talking about the benefits of having a website. However they complained about access to the internet that can’t be different from one place to another.
During a seminar at the festival Onno W. Purbo, an expert on communication and information technology, offered a solution. He suggested villages without cell phone connections can access the internet from transmitters located in neighboring villages. A modem and router could be installed at a villager’s house for security reasons.
People can download a radio mobile wireless program for free. The total cost for opening this internet access, including a WiFi transmitter, or TV and village radio, is around Rp2 million.
“Each village can make their own servers, or create a TV channel on the internet. We don’t need permission to create a radio station on the internet, right? The internet in the village will be accessed locally, so can we use an intranet connection instead of the internet?” Onno asked.
Participants in the seminar also learned about creating a network, including the coding and data programming. Onno suggested that village websites should provide a distinctive local content.
“What we need to do is teach our people so they can create access to the internet. The cost to open this access is the same as buying a cell phone. It won’t be billions of Rupiah. The key is not the money, but the knowledge,” Onno said in an interview.
Creating transparency through a website
The idea of having a domain “Desa.id” came from village heads during their gathering “Sarasehan Juguran Blogger Banyuman” in 2012. The idea was also brought up during the volunteer gathering of RPDN in April 2012. The community organization Gerakan Desa Membangun (GDM) worked on the idea until it was registered as a domain.
On May 1, 2013, the domain “Desa.id” was officially launched. The promotion of the domain was supported by PNPM Mandiri in Banyumas.
A program to distribute 1,000 free village websites marked the end of the first DesTIKa festival in Melung Village, Kedungbanteng, Banyumas. PANDI, the Indonesia Internet Domain Name Registry, offered free use of the domain “Desa.id” for one year. The users, however, must be committed to actively update their website content.
In the second year of the DesTIKa Festival, about 1,300 village websites are active. Starting October 1, 2014, villagers will pay for the domain name as well as the hosting fee.
GDM helped with the making and activation of the website. Villagers need to complete a form online, with a copy of their KTP and a letter from the village head or village secretary explaining about their reason to create a website with the domain “Desa.id.”
Participants attending the DesTIKa festival were able to learn about making a website for free.
Pri Anton Subardi, from Pangebatan Village, Banyumas, shared his experiences during a class on optimizing village websites. He said that villagers must understand why a website is important before registering it. If the government isn’t interested in it yet, he added, keep in mind that creating change is not always easy.
Approaching those who are interested in communication and information technology, such as the youth organization Karang Taruna, can be an effective strategy. GDM believes that the need of a website must come from the people in the village.
“Anyone who cares about it has a role in developing their village,” said Anton, who’s also active in the organization Gedhe Foundation.
Some participants were not sure about the capability of villagers to operate such technology. However, village activists can solve this problem by sharing their experience and being active in village organizations like GDM.
“When a person has understood something, then he or she is obliged to share it with others,” said Anton, who also teaches at the Polytechnic campus of Pratama in Purwokerto.
A seminar about general information systems for development dealt with the role of a website. It could promote the village’s potential and natural resources to other villages, and even to the world. It could support trading between villages that would help the development in rural areas, as is mandated in the Village Law. Communication access would be opened widely.
“Regional governments need to prepare the information systems, the network, and workers. A village that wants to develop will have the need to look for information,” said Andi Budimansyah , chairman of PANDI.
With a village website, people can have access to public data as well as good practices, including the most innovative ideas. People would be invited to actively check the data about their village.
“One of the principles in the Village Law is participation. A village head must involve the public in policy making. A draft of a village rule must be discussed at the Village Consultative Body. They need to coordinate it with their people,” advised Bambang Heru Tjahjono, Director General for Informatics Application at the Ministry of Communication and Informatics.
The head of Karangnangka Hamlet, Kodirin, said that the website can integrate data collected from different sectors. For example, he pointed out that data from Indonesian Statistics (BPS) is sometimes different than that from the Home Affairs Ministry.
Documenting changes in demographics can help with data integration. The data can be displayed in a visual way.
“We can change the policy if we have a valid database that can be cross-checked with the data from BPS. It’s us who should know best about how many poor people are in our village,” Kodirin said.
Part 2: “Blusukan” to villages online
My writings for PSF website