Seventeen years ago, Indonesia embarked on its so-called big bang decentralization. Almost overnight, responsibility to deliver many public services was transferred to local governments. This was done, in part, with the hope that the decentralization would make local government more agile and responsive to issues facing local communities. However, results have yet to materialize in many locations.
The provision of basic public services to the poor and near-poor is largely the responsibility of sub national governments in Indonesia. District governments, in particular, are largely responsible for managing health and education services, supervising 75,000 villages and managing 80% of the road network. Progress in basic service delivery, therefore, depends on sub national governments’ capacity to analyze and solve problems through collective action. This calls for district governments to play a more active role in identifying, understanding and responding to local service delivery problems that they face. Through MELAYANI program, the World Bank team is working with local government departments and leadership to help them unpack and explore problems that they have identified in search of root causes and contextually relevant solutions.