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.
Saukani, a staff of Bener Meriah Community and Village Empowerment Office (DPMK), still remembers the hassle of checking the Village Budget (APBDes) documents ahead of the disbursement of village funds in 2015. "We had to examine documents from 232 villages. As a result, the village funds can only be disbursed in September, from what should have been between March and July,” he remembers.
Rudi Faisal, financial staff of Gampong Sumber Jaya, has a similar experience with Saukani. "In the past we had to go back and forth to consult with the district, not to mention if mistakes were found and needed to be revised. The APBDes document cannot be completed in one day, as a result the village funds were disbursed late, "he said.
The winds of change then came in 2018 when the Bener Meriah District Government drafted a District Head's Regulation on the Delegation of District Head’s Authority to the Sub-district Head, facilitated by KOMPAK. This regulation gives the sub-districts more powers and funding to support and oversee village governments.
The delegation of authorities was accompanied by the establishment of Village Governance facilitator or Pembina Teknis Pemerintahan Desa (PTPD) model at the sub-district by the district government and KOMPAK. This involved establishing a team of experts, based at the sub-district, who provide technical assistance to village governments in the development of planning and budget documents.
To strengthen PTPD, Bener Meriah District Government together with KOMPAK conducted a series of training including training on PTPD duties and functions, Village Financial System (Siskeudes), implementation of sub-district coordination and basic health under village Authority.
"Previously the implementation of village development was hampered because the village funds are disbursed late. The village health centres were not able to purchase and distribute additional food and vitamins and scholarships for poor students were delayed," said Faisal.
"Now, instead of going to DPMK, we can now consult with the PTPD in the sub-district office. The PTPD team examine the APBDes and village fund reports, and if there are errors, we can correct them immediately and the document can be ready within a week," added Faisal.
In 2019, Sumber Jaya and Kulem Parakanis villages became the first two villages to disburse village funds on schedule.
Subahrul, Head of Community Economic Empowerment, DPMK Bener Meriah said that the delegation of authority and the existence of PTPD also improved the quality of village planning and budgeting. "Delegation of authority is able to cut down the bureaucracy and improving the quality of basic services," he concluded.