Approach The Aksi Inspiratif Warga untuk Perubahan (SIGAP) initiated by the Nusantara Nature Conservation Foundation (YKAN) has increased the assisted villages in the East Kutai Regency area from five villages to 10 villages, confirmed through the SIGAP facilitator training program in Karangan Dalam Village, East Kutai, which started on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.
The SIGAP facilitator training lasted for four days (8-11 November 2023) and was attended by 29 participants. They represent SIGAP facilitators, government staff in target villages, community self-help activists, forestry instructors, local village assistants, and the Bikal Foundation, YKAN's local partner in Karangan Village. The participants received lessons about SIGAP, learning about village potential, and preparing the Village Medium Term Development Plan.
YKAN developed the SIGAP social approach, which relies on residents' collective action to find strengths, dreams, and creative and innovative solutions to face challenges while strengthening their existence as village residents. The SIGAP approach has been implemented in 99 villages in Berau Regency since 2018. Since 2022, SIGAP replication has been implemented in five villages in East Kutai Regency. Its reach has expanded to 10 villages in Karangan District and Kaubun District.
To expand the location, YKAN is collaborating with the Nastari Foundation to increase the capacity of facilitators, officials, and related stakeholders. From this training, participants will be able to support the development of their villages through the three main pillars of SIGAP. The three pillars of SIGAP are village governance, utilization of natural resources through the development of Social Forestry and Economic Institutional Development through Village-Owned Enterprises (BUMDES), and encouraging the processes and innovations needed to accelerate the achievement of village development and progress.
According to Christianus Djoka, YKAN's Rural Capacity Development Specialist, selecting the village location to be assisted is by considering geographical conditions. Karangan District and Kaubun District are locations within the Sangkulirang-Mangkabayar karst cluster. This karst area is significant to maintain as a water catchment, unique animal habitat, and carbon sink.
"We want to encourage village residents to realize the potential and assets they have without massively extracting natural resources," said Christianus. Some villages that participated in the training have used karst as a tourist destination. For example, Ampanas Karst Cave in Pengadan Village, Lorong Air Cave in Karangan, and Mengkuris Karst in Batu Lepoq. Christianus added that governance, a SIGAP pillar, will help prepare participatory village development plans. "It is hoped that village residents will become more aware of their potential to be actively involved in development so an independent village can be achieved," he said.
On the same occasion, the director of the Nastari Wahono Foundation said that SIGAP facilitators are the frontguards in the field. The Nastari Foundation is a training partner for SIGAP Sejahtera Fighters in the Berau Regency. Over the last five years, as many as 120 young people have assisted villages in Berau in implementing SIGAP as SIGAP Prosperous Fighters. Their contribution also supports the achievements of the Developing Village Index in 2022 in Berau, which now leaves only one village behind out of 99 villages. As for East Kutai, there are still two villages left behind out of 139 villages. "The enthusiasm of the SIGAP facilitators in East Kutai has further confirmed that young people who are given the opportunity can develop their home area," said Wahono.
Head of the Village Government Division of the East Kutai Regency Community Empowerment and Village Government Service (DPMPD) Yudieth hopes this training will continue in other villages. "We hope to collaborate, especially in the process of strengthening the capacity of fellow facilitators and village governments in East Kutai," he said on the same occasion.
Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) is a scientific-based non-profit organization that has been present in Indonesia since 2014. With the mission of protecting lands and waters as life support systems, we provide innovative solutions to realize the harmony of nature and humans through effective natural resource management, prioritizing a non-confrontational approach, and building a network of partnerships with all stakeholders for a sustainable Indonesia. For more information, visit ykan.or.id.