Aceh is located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra, with a population of 5.2 million people. Aceh has made a remarkable recovery after a long period of armed conflict and the 2004 earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 160,000 people.
Poverty in Aceh has declined from 20% in 2010 to 16% in 2018, but is still above the national average of 9.8% (BPS, 2018). The Aceh Provincial Government manages funds (per capita) far greater than the national average and this has contributed to reducing poverty and improving basic services, but disparities – particularly in remote areas – are an ongoing challenge.
KOMPAK in Aceh
Since 2016, KOMPAK has been supporting the Provincial Government of Aceh and three districts: Aceh Barat, Bener Meriah and Bireuen.
KOMPAK’s support to Aceh Province from 2019 to 2022 focuses on kecamatan and village strengthening, public financial management, civil registration and vital statistics, basic health services, and local economic development. KOMPAK also supports the district and provincial governments to implement the National Strategy for Stunting Prevention.
Highlights of KOMPAK’s support in Aceh include:
Operationalising the Ministry of Home Affairs Strategy for Village Apparatus Capacity Development (PKAD), particularly through piloting village government facilitators at the sub-district-level to support village governance.
Contributions towards improvements in civil registration and vital statistics, such as using supporting villages to fund, engage and train village registration officers.
Conducting an evaluation on Special Autonomy (Otsus) Fund utilisation between 2008-2017 and supporting the provincial government to enact the recommendations.
Assistance to the provincial government to strengthen planning and budgeting of Otsus Funds for the period of 2020-2027, including piloting a new e-planning and budgeting system to better link provincial and district government agencies.
Supporting the Paradigta Academy to train and mentor women from villages to take more active roles in local government, village councils and women’s groups.
Expanding coverage and use of the village information system and kecamatan dashboard so that villages are able to better plan and prioritise services.
The Health Office of Bener Meriah District, together with KOMPAK, conducted a focus group discussion for midwives from 13 Public Health Centres or Puskesmas on August 6, 2019. The purpose of the focus group discussions was to get input and feedback from midwives who have used the Bidan Sehati application so that it can be refined in the next version.
The Government of Aceh Province launched an integrated e-planning and e-budgeting application creating one system for the province and districts to be used, making the management of activities and budgets simpler, and more efficient and effective
This year, across KOMPAK locations and partners our teams celebrated and showed commitment to International Women’s Day in a number of ways. Teams took photos holding their commitment slogan in all KOMPAK locations, integrated discussions on gender equality in to existing events and in Jakarta our team held a bazaar to sell handicrafts and products made by the amazing women from the PEKKA (Women Heads of Family Organization) community.
Innovation of ball pick-up services to educate and to increase the scope of ownership of population documents for vulnerable community groups.
Innovation in discovering sustainable economic potential which carried out through collaborative Community Service programs (KKN) to reactivate neglected village assets.
By strengthening the role of the sub-district, KOMPAK has helped Bener Meriah District in Aceh reduce the approval process for the APBDes – the Indonesian term for village budget documents – from over three months to about a week.
This note draws on a longitudinal study (Sentinel Villages) that investigated the patterns of participation, transparency and accountability under Village Law between 2015 and 2018. The findings from this research indicate that, since the introduction of Village Law, levels of community participation in village meetings (musdes), while relatively stable, continue to be low at around 16%. Participation patterns are also not broad-based and inclusive, with participation mostly from the elites (male, well off and socially engaged), and limited participation from women or other marginalized groups. Since 2014, village governments have improved on key metrics of transparency, disclosing and sharing more information. However, there was an overall low level of awareness at the village level on village programs, budgets, and plans. Under Village Law, systems of upward accountability and reporting have been strengthened. This has not been matched with similar progress on systems of downward (social) accountability to the community. Strengthening participation, transparency and accountability, necessitates each actor to play its role effectively, and particularly realising the full potential and role of the village community, facilitators, and the Village Council (Badan Permusyawarahan Desa or BPD).
The role of the local government in village development is largely defined by the Local Government Law (UU 23/2014), which forms the legal basis for local government regulations related to organization and functions of local technical agencies in providing guidance and supervision to village governments. Both the Village Law (UU 6/2014) and Local Government Law (UU 23/2014), which were passed in the same year, define authorities of village governments and local governments, respectively. However, these two laws provide different guidance on the role of local governments in supporting and supervising village governments. The Local Government Law and its derivative regulations mandate a critical role of district government agencies to oversee villages (particularly the District Agency for Village Community Empowerment and Sub-district), which differentiates the role of district government and villages related to village and community empowerment affairs. Current efforts to align the Local Autonomy Law and Village Law through a revised government regulation on concurrent government affairs are expected to address the gaps and conflicts in these laws. In the meantime, some district governments have initiated local regulations and positioned the local government as a critical facilitator for village development.
There has been a ten-fold increase in village expenditures on infrastructure between 2012 and 2016; however, the quality of the infrastructure over the same period has declined. Most village funds are spent on infrastructure. In 2018, less than half of projects, 46%, met technical specifications (meaning the structures were built according to code), compared to 82% in 2012. Further, there has been an 80% drop in Operations and Maintenance (O&M) in the same period. The quantity and quality of technical assistance to villages is insufficient to meet the demand from villages. Local governments are mandated to provide supervision of infrastructure under the Village Law and PP47/2015, but face difficulties in fulfilling this role.