Empowering the Potential of Disadvantaged Village, UB Collaborates with PDTT Ministry of Village

The Utilization of Village Space Towards an Empowered Village: Commitment to Innovative Collaboration between the PDTT Ministry of Villages and Universitas Brawijaya

The Center for Village Development Studies Team at Universitas Brawijaya (UB), represented by Dr. Sugiarto, S.T., M.T, Dr. Ir. Atiek Iriany, MS, and Aris Subagiyo, S.T., M.T held a meeting with the Directorate General of Village and Rural Development (Director General of PDP PDTT Ministry of Village) Sugito, S.Sos., M.H on Friday (21/06/2024). This meeting was held on the sidelines of the inauguration of the construction of village infrastructure and development of tourist attractions in six villages in Ponorogo Regency.

This meeting was held to jointly think about, identify, resolve problems, and look for solutions and innovations in optimizing village development.

The Director General of PDP, Ministry of Villages, PDTT, as the bearer of policy mandates in the field of village and rural development, believes that villages are the spearhead of Indonesia’s development. Villages have a very central role even though they are not yet completely free from development issues, namely poverty, limited infrastructure, inequality, limited access to health and education services, as well as the dichotomy of villages in Java and outside Java.

“Nationally, there are 54.68 percent of the poor population in rural areas (BPS, 2024). We can imagine, if the 75,265 villages in Indonesia are increasingly empowered, then it is certain that Indonesia will be successful in the future,” said Sugito.

In general, village fund policies provide villages with the opportunity to be able to develop their economic growth and social life. The varied characteristics of villages and their communities encourage various innovations to ensure villages grow advanced and independent, so that by 2025 a “thematic” program is planned for village development.

The term “thematic” departs from the generic village fund program which specifically provides “freedom” for village development financing so that the government and community can develop villages based on the tourism, agriculture, livestock, industry (MSMEs), fisheries/coastal sectors and others.

“When a village has chosen a certain theme that suits its potential, it must be followed by the mindset of the government and village residents to support the program, the completeness of infrastructure to accelerate it, and solid institutions to contribute,” said Sugito.

He also added that building villages in Indonesia requires collaboration and synergy. There are at least two main factors. First, the internal aspect, there are five technical directorates and one directorate general who can collaborate in completing superior village programs in certain loci. Second, the external aspect, that the Director General of PDP opens up space for collaboration with ministries/institutions/universities/NGOs to jointly realize development that can be felt by all village communities.

UB collaborates with the PDTT Ministry of Villages to develop disadvantaged villages

In response, UB Center for Village Development Study Team explained how they had been intensely caring for and uniting with the village through the tri dharma of higher education, namely community service.

Dr. Ir. Atiek Iriany, MS said, UB has experience in assisting and empowering thematic villages. As proof, the villages around Malang Raya which are supported by UB Campus can become more empowered by managing the potential of their villages. In fact, UB campus plays an active role and contributes to the flagship program of the East Java Provincial Government through “Empowered Villages”, the result of which is that there are no longer very underdeveloped villages and underdeveloped villages in this province at the eastern tip of Java Island.

However, based on national data for 2023, there are still 15.03 percent of villages with the IDM (Developing Village Index) status classification in the category of underdeveloped and very underdeveloped villages.

“UB’s commitment and collaboration continues to grow, the footprint and wings of its dedication to developing rural areas are increasingly expanding, in the last few years it has reached West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), several districts on the state border (NTT-Timor Leste), and other eastern regions of Indonesia, ” explained Atiek.

In 2024, UB Center for Village Development Studies was entrusted by the Director General of PDP to help prepare a “Village Space Utilization Guide” as part of efforts to maximize the role of villages in recognizing the potential of their villages which is the basis for stepping up development.

“It is hoped that villages can choose appropriate and feasible village themes for their development. The use of village space intended is not limited to plotting village spaces for their function using a top down approach, but is more bottom up by empowering the community. “Villages are not just a locus, nor just a territory, but a village is a living space based on the environment and local wisdom towards sustainability,” continued Atiek

Dr. Sugiarto added that village space utilization guidelines must be easy for the village government and community to understand, and of course operational.

“Indonesia has a variety of village typologies, so this guideline is an operational basis for villages with inland, coastal typologies, villages on the outskirts of cities, villages on islands and even villages in the country’s border areas,” explained Sugiarto.

Dr Atiek Iriany concluded that UB Center for Village Development Studies was ready to add pilot project locations for village space utilization preparation activities in NTB and NTT Provinces to help advance villages outside Java, add to the repertoire and complement the variety of villages in enriching village space utilization guidance, utilizing UB collaboration network at both provinces. [PSPD/Irene/ UB PR/ Trans. Iir]