DesTIKa, or the Village Communication and Information Technology Festival, was held on September 26-27, 2014 at Tanjungsari Village, Sukahaji Sub-district, Majalengka, West Java. It was opened by Budiman Sudjatmiko, house representative and member of Commission II. On the second day of the festival there was a discussion about the Village Law No.6/2014.
Budiman mentioned a 2013 report by Statistics Indonesia (BPS) showing that 50.2 percent of the total population of Indonesia (236.6 million) lives in villages. From this number:
• 40.45 percent support themselves by working in rice fields
• 17.63 percent by working in farming (perkebunan)
• 15.11percent by working in fishing
• 12.92 percent by working on plantations (perladangan)
• 9.75 percent by working in the industrial sector
• 3.4 percent by working in forestry
• 0.45 percent by working in mining
• 0.29 percent by working with livestock
Despite rich natural resources, Budiman continued, villages are faced with unfairness and budget inequality. In Papua, 89 percent of villages are underdeveloped, in Nusa Tenggara, 58 percent. Budiman explained that the new president, Jokowi, realized that the government doesn’t treat villages seriously. Villages only receive 2.6 to 3 percent of the national budget even though half of the country’s population lives in villages.
“With the Village Law, there’s room for villages to allocate and secure a budget,” Budiman said during the community gathering “Synergizing multi-parties in Gerakan Desa Membangun (Building Village Movement).”
The 2015 national budget allocated 9.1 trillion for 72,944 villages across the country. Budiman explained that villages should have received Rp64 trillion, or 10 percent of the 2015 national budget, as arranged in the Village Law, article 72, paragraph 2. This figure does not yet include money that will come from ADD, or Village Budget Allocation. However, he was optimistic that the revised national budget could raise the allocation. There is a Social Assistance Fund (Bansos) from various ministries with total of Rp600 trillion that can be allocated for villages.
“We can find at least an additional Rp39 trillion from the regional budget (APBD) for villages. Each village will receive an average of Rp1.108 billion, as arranged in article 72, paragraph 4,” he said.
Not all villages are ready to manage the significantly increased fund. They will need reliable people to take care of the financial reports, to conduct training in communication and information technology, to organize meetings, to do a bookkeeping, etc. Some villages that have been evaluated and considered capable of managing the budget can receive the full funds. In fact, President Jokowi will add Rp2-3 billion for villages that have demonstrated good performance.
“The priority is to increase the skills of village workers. When someone is incapable of administrative work, he or she can be suspected of a crime or even corruption,” Budiman said.
Utilizing PNPM Mandiri
Before DesTIKa Festival 2014, Budiman spoke to the new president, Joko Widodo, about the village law and the challenges facing villages. The meeting lasted for two days, and afterward President Jokowi said that four days after his inauguration he would visit villages and meet with communities.
“It means that in a gathering like this, held by GDM, the speaker may no longer be just me, or Yossi, or others. The president would be here,” said Budiman, drawing applause from the audience.
It’s everyone’s responsibility to connect villages, he continued. GDM has joined together 1,300 villages on a website. The target is to have 72,000 villages by 2019.
“A village that’s been trained by GDM can help coach three of its neighboring villages. It is called BKAD, or Inter-village Cooperation, as arranged by the Village Law, article 92. The concept of BKAD was derived from PNPM,” he explained.
The implementation of the Village Law will copy PNPM Rural, with some modifications. Budiman has talked to the new president about the roles of around 17,000 PNPM facilitators, PNPM workers, and the amount of the funds. According to Budiman, PNPM Mandiri is a good legacy from the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The Village Law embraced the spirit of PNPM Rural. The government issued the Regional Government Law inspired by PNPM Integrasi. Budiman suggested that the capacity of PNPM facilitators should be increased so they can work as an agent of change. Budiman said that the new law should utilize PNPM resources. An organizational chart of PNPM workers has been made. It includes the roles of NMC, TNP2K, Satker, Faskab, FK, KPMD, and UPK.
“The PNPM network hasn’t been totally utilized for village development,” Budiman said.
Budiman created a presentation for the new president, Jokowi. It was entitled “Village Revolution: Developing villages for food and energy independence toward a healthy and smart Indonesia.”
It was also presented during the community gathering by Gerakan Desa Membangun (GDM). It spoke about the role of villages in solving energy problems as well as village-scale technologies, including water distillation and burning trash and used tires as fuel alternatives. The new government will prepare a laboratory where people from villages across the nation can share their innovative ideas. GDM will distribute 130 village-based technologies initiated in Karanganyar and Banyumas, Central Java.
Budiman displayed drone technology that has been tested in Kalimantan for use in village photography. This photography will allow villagers to do such things as study the color of the leaves on their farms to avoid harvest failure, to anticipate forest fires, to help cluster plants for area development, and to gather data about topography.
“The mapping and the analysis will take about a week. It can be helpful for RPJMDes,” Budiman said.
The making of the drones will employ village youth from vocational schools and general community. This way can lower the cost of drone making from the usual Rp300 million to Rp20-25 million. A village doesn’t have to have its own drone. If it doesn’t have one and needs to do mapping it can contact its neighbors. At least 10 villages could share a drone for the purposes of mapping.
“Villagers want to take over the sovereignty of their land, food, energy, water, and eventually, technology,” Budiman said.
Supporting transparency and accountability
A website is important for villagers so they can access data about the development and activities in their village. The Village Law has arranged for villages to deploy a development information system. The system is run by the village government. For security reasons, the domain “Desa.id” can only be acquired by villages. Its registration must be approved by either the village head or village secretary.
“Identification clarity is important for this domain use. PANDI has verified that there is no bogus “Desa.id,” said Sigit Widodo, chairman of PANDI, Indonesia Internet Domain Name Registry.
During the discussion, participants stressed the importance of having open access to information technology.
“People can benefit from the website, although they still have a lot to learn about computers,” said Muhammad Dahlan, a participant from Gampong Cot Baroh, Pidie, Aceh.
The central and regional governments need to solve this technology gap. The implementation of the Village Law needs to be supported by the constant application of sub-regulations. The spread of a “transparency virus” is necessary to lead the implementation of the Village Law. An example is to involve other community groups, such as the youth organization Karang Taruna, when looking for a program partner. This digital democracy encourages people to participate in a transparent and accountable way. Budget making for village development must follow the approved regulations.
“If only the House of Representatives (DPR), provincial leaders, regent, central government, and people in the village could sit together like we are now, it would be wonderful,” said Tasrip, the head of Tanjungsari Village. He said he didn’t have an understanding of websites but has learned about Facebook from GDM.
With village websites, President Jokowi can “visit” villages online. The government can supervise and evaluate all levels of government. The website will help spread information about villages. The function of LPM, or the hamlet head (Kadus), can be revitalized as public relations. The Village Consultative Body (BPD) can involve communities for monitoring activity.
“The money distributed in the village can’t escape to the city. It has to stay circulating in the village for the purpose of new products and intelligence generation in the village,” said Budiman.
Eventually, everyone is involved in development, supported by accurate data, and the village can have its sovereignty incorporating its local wisdom.
Read Part I: Opening internet access for villages
My writings for PSF website.