In the Indonesian village of Tihengo in Gorontalo province, a fisher complains of problems accessing financial capital, a situation that has been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. In West Java’s Ciemas village, a warung (small street vendor) owner is forced to terminate four of her employees as result of mandated social restrictions during the pandemic. These villagers are not alone. Their counterparts across Indonesia’s 70,000 villages have been impacted severely amid the pandemic.
In 2020 , the Minister of Village endorsed a regulation on prioritizing the Village Fund to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to accelerate the SDGs at the village level – known as “SDG Desa”, from the Indonesian word for village. UNDP has partnered with the Ministry of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigrations (Kemendesa PDTT) to support effort to build forward better.
For its part, Kemendesa PDTT has worked on ensuring that marginalized rural communities are taken care of via the Padat Karya Tunai Desa (PKTD) program – that provides employment to unskilled and semi-skilled workers on activities such as rehabilitation of irrigation systems. UNDP’s support for Kemendesa PDTT has involved training on the Cash-for-Work (CfW) mobile application, which will help advance digital transformation. The project has been piloted in the provinces of Central Sulawesi and West Nusa Tenggara.
As marginalized rural communities bear the brunt of the pandemic, an inclusive development approach is vital to ensure that recovery efforts truly leave no one behind. Further, community participation is key. UNDP, through the Social Innovation Platform (SIP) approach, supports Kemendesa PDTT to capture community narratives, facilitating co-creation processes and developing prototypes of locally sourced development solutions. Gorontalo and West Java are two pilot provinces for SIP experimentation.
Beyond the pandemic, sustainable transformation of village development is critical for Indonesia to achieve the SDGs. Towards this end, reliable data is imperative for effective village development planning.
The SDG Desa framework allows villages to collect reliable information to help plan their village development in line with the SDGs. In June 2021, Kemendesa PDTT selected several districts to pilot the collection of village-level SDG data. Such data will provide information on village progress towards the SDGs and data for similar outcomes at district, provincial and national levels.
Reliable data and efficient planning are important, as is the capacity of the human resources. For village government and facilitators to be able to do so, capacity development is fundamental. They need to have adequate capacity on SDG, BUMDes and other relevant topics. Kemendesa PDTT has had various trainings for multi-layered village officials, and UNDP is looking to further strengthen this effort, leveraging the SDG Academy Indonesia. The Academy has been supporting Kemendesa PDTT to facilitate innovative learning opportunities for all.
These efforts have ensured that a woman Village Head in Padang and a young Village Facilitator in Maluku can learn about SDG on their mobile phones.
Through its partnership with Kemendesa PDTT, UNDP aims to help the fisher from Tihengo village and help the warung business in Ciemas village.
Text by Ainul Djula
Edited by Ranjit Jose