While Plampang Village in West Nusa Tenggara has not yet recorded any cases of COVID-19, it has been proactive in preparing for the impact of the pandemic. A key part of this has been setting up a Village COVID-19 Task Force to help oversee the response and to reallocate the village budget to strengthen social assistance programs – particularly the Village Fund Cash Assistance (BLT-Dana Desa) – and the delivery of public health messages and prevention materials.
"We managed to reallocate the Village Budget quickly and this means we are able to complete all the necessary steps to prepare for and respond to COVID-19," said Jufrianto, Head of Plampang Village. “Thanks to community involvement in verifying families entitled for assistance, we have been able to more quickly disburse the cash assistance to those in need.”
The village has distributed the third phase of BLT-Dana Desa to 150 poor and vulnerable households and has purchased masks, thermometers and disinfectants to support prevention efforts. To mitigate the impact of COVID-19, the Government of Indonesia launched the social assistance mechanism that includes BLT-Dana Desa. The cash assistance is disbursed in six phases starting from April 2020.
The Sumbawa District Government has been providing support to Plampang and other villages under its jurisdiction. This included developing and issuing the ‘Technical Guideline on Village Budget Reallocation to Respond to Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19)’. The guideline – developed with support from KOMPAK – aims to assist villages in reallocating their budgets for COVID-19 and recording the changes in the Village Financial System (Siskeudes).
“Amending the village budget in such a short time can be a heavy task for the village. Moreover, the human resource capacity in villages is also very limited," explained Varian Bintoro, the Head of the Community and Village Empowerment Agency (DPMD) of Sumbawa District. “KOMPAK helped us a lot in translating the national policy into technical steps to be used by the district and sub-district governments in supervising villages to reallocate and refocus their budgets.”
By June 2020, all 157 villages in Sumbawa District had reallocated IDR 39.8 billion (AUD 3.8 million) from their village budgets for the COVID-19 response. Over 90 percent (IDR 37 billion) is being used to expand the BLT-Dana Desa cash transfer program for over 20,000 poor and vulnerable households. The remaining funds are being used for the procurement of personal protective equipment and cleaning materials, public health advocacy campaigns and message boards, and to provide assistance to people under quarantine.