The passage of Law 6/2014 on Villages (Village Law, VL) provides opportunities to improve village governance in Indonesia by incorporating good governance principles of community participation, transparency, and downward accountability, and providing more resources and autonomy to villages. These principles have been practiced through community-driven development (CDD) projects for more than 15 years in villages all over the country - working on the premise that empowering citizens to choose or demand the goods/services they need would improve their well-being.
The Bank has been providing analytical and technical assistance on the Village Law for the past 2.5 years and provided summary presentation of the key Village Law challenges that have emerged from this work and possible actions that can improve Village Law implementation, drawing on Indonesia's extensive and globally-recognized CDD experience. These challenges include Village Laws; (i) resource allocation and use; (ii) institutionalizing community participation to ensure voice and responsiveness to village needs; (iii) systems to manage village finances and outputs; (iv) providing sustained on-the-ground capacity support at the village level; and (v) top-down and bottom-up oversight.
A key component of the Bank's Village Law support program, The Sentinel Villages study, also known as the Village Governance and Empowerment Study, aims to monitor Village Law implementation from 2015-2018. The study is conducted in three provinces and five districts (Jambi: Batanghari and Merangin; Central Java: Wonogiri and Banyumas; and NTT: Ngada). Although this BBL incoporated findings from both the quantitative and qualitative parts of the study, the presentation will focus on findings from the quantitative part which incorporate data from 112 villages (4,081 household member - 2,125 women and 1,956 men, 112 village head, 112 BPD head, 112 hamlet heads, 222 community activists, 224 health sector workers, and 192 education sector workers).
Amongst the key findings are: 1) Villagers awareness of village programs and the use of village funds is low; 2) Village planning meetings are not open to all villagers, with more educated, employed, active villagers more likely to be invited than women and marginalized groups 3) Villagers have greater interest to participate in hamlet meetings than in overall village meetings (musyawarah desa - musdes). And even when they came to meetings, their engagement is somewhat limited; 4) Villagers interest in village government-related information is primarily about information that directly impacts them, and a significant share (32.4%) of villagers claimed to have no interest in village-related information; 5) Village activists appear frequent to the musdes and the musyawarah dusun (musdus) and are more engaged in the discussions - hence they are potential to be involved as representatives for villagers; and 6) District's policies influence village governance.