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Villages Becomes New Growth Centers in Indonesia

Keranjang tenun
Woven Basket villagers weave a basket made from a strong forest vine called rattan, Borneo, Indonesia. © Nick Hall
Panen Lengkuas
Harvesting Galangal A villager is harvesting galangal. © Nick Hall

Indonesia will not be great because of the torches in Jakarta, but Indonesia will be lit by the candles in the village. This is a quote from Bung Hatta delivered by the Minister of Villages, Development of Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration (Kemendesa PDTT) Abdul Halim Iskandar. He said this during the "Launch of the Village Center of Excellence (CoE): Center for Village Innovation Excellence and Implementation of the SIGAP Village Academy in East Kalimantan," on Friday, December 18, 2020 on Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara’s YouTube channel.

The launch event was also attended by Minister of National Development Planning/Head of Bappenas Suharso Monoarfa, Governor of East Kalimantan Isran Noor, Head of East Kalimantan DPMD M. Syirajudin, Executive Director of Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara Herlina Hartanto, and Chair of the Village Innovation Studio Foundation Ryan Sugiarto.

This launch became a big momentum for village development in Indonesia, namely the presence of the Village Innovation Excellence Center and the birth of the SIGAP Village Academy in East Kalimantan. The presence of the Innovation Excellence Center began with a joint program between the Kemendesa PDTT and The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) in documenting and disseminating experiences and best practices in innovative villages in Indonesia, from local, regional, and local champions. as well as globally. This year, Kemendesa PDTT has designated two villages as Center of Excellence Village (CoEV). The two villages are Panggungharjo Village, Bantul, Yogyakarta and Pujon Kidul, Malang, East Java, based on the village government's ability to solve problems in their working area.

Minister Abdul Halim said that the government's priority was to mainstream the Village Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals at the village level in village development plans. There are 18 Village SDGs that can be achieved by collecting data, then processing it into a village profile. This village profile is then used for development planning and priority activities in the village. The last is monitoring the success of activities and measuring the achievement of village development goals.

The efforts contained in the Village SDGs have been carried out, both by the Village Innovation Studio Foundation (SID) and Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN). The Panggungharjo Village Government, through the SID Foundation, documented 46 knowledge, ideas, and innovations as the basis for change to achieve village independence. Meanwhile, YKAN has developed an Inspiring Community Action for Change (SIGAP) in East Kalimantan to assist villages bordering the forest.

As a conservation institution, YKAN is actively involved in village development because there are around 26 thousand villages located in and around the forest. This is also in line with the Village Law which gives authority to villages in the management of forest resources. In addition, the Social Forestry program from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry provides opportunities for communities to obtain forest management rights so that communities prosper and their forests are sustainable. This Social Forestry Program can and needs to be synergized with village development programs. "SIGAP views rural communities as a solution and believes that village communities can mobilize their potential or strengths to achieve prosperity, while preserving the natural resources around them," said YKAN Director Herlina Hartanto.

These experiences from Yogyakarta and East Kalimantan were then combined in the activity "Launching the Village Innovation Excellence Center or CoE Village". This launch also marks the opening of the SIGAP Village Academy in Berau Regency as an initial model for implementing the Village Innovation Excellence Center.

"All parties who want to build a village should not stop learning," said Village Minister Abdul Halim. He said that the presence of CoEV and the SIGAP Village Academy could be a good place for learning for villages in Indonesia. "We are grateful for this launch, because it can help in terms of knowledge, find innovations in development, and accelerate the pace of village development," he said.

It is also this inter-village interaction that the Ministry of National Development Planning (PPN) hopes to accelerate. "The interaction will stimulate various knowledge that will lead to village innovation," said Minister of National Development Planning, Suharso Monoarfa. Minister Suharso reminded that the role of the village in village development continues to undergo renewal. "The village is not only a living space, but a production space that continues to flow to other areas," he said. It is hoped that the interaction of the village economy can reach national boundaries. The way to make it happen is with village innovations that can create high-value village economic products on a national and global scale.

Efforts to transform villages have already been seen in East Kalimantan. "Rural development in East Kalimantan Province is currently in a very positive trend," said Head of the East Kalimantan Community Empowerment and Village Development Service (DPMPD), Syirajudin. Until 2020, there are 51 independent villages, 202 developed villages, and 456 developing villages; while the number of underdeveloped villages is 128 and 4 villages are very underdeveloped. Building a village, according to Syirajudin, is our collective duty and responsibility in developing Indonesia from the periphery. "Therefore, let us collaborate together in realizing village independence, as an effort to build an advanced Indonesia in order to welcome a better future from the village," he added.

The provincial government also encourages the birth of support and collaboration of parties, ranging from the government, communities, universities and research institutions, private and third parties, as well as other development partners to jointly create advanced and independent villages in East Kalimantan. "The SIGAP program, which synergizes with stakeholders and is implemented in Berau Regency and several villages in other regencies, has begun to show positive results which have an impact on increasing the Building Village Index (IDM) in East Kalimantan," said East Kalimantan Governor Isran Noor.

Governor Isran hopes that the Village Innovation Center and the SIGAP Village Academy can encourage the birth of superior and innovative village models in carrying out village development, including sustainable natural resource management in East Kalimantan Province. "In the future, we are targeting that these model villages can be replicated in Indonesia and other countries that are part of the South-South and Triangular State Cooperation," said Governor Isran.


Tentang YSID

Yayasan Sanggar Inovasi Desa (YSID) didirikan pada Desember 2019 dan diresmikan oleh Menteri Desa PDTT pada 5 Januari 2020 di Yogyakarta. YSID hadir sebagai wahana pembentukan ekosistem inovasi kemandirian desa melalui pendokumentasian pengalaman hingga desain knowledge management sektor desa yang bertumpu pada nilai otentik, lestari dan tumbuh bersama dengan mengarus utamakan kerja-kerja kolaboratif lintas stakeholder. Informasi lebih lanjut silahkan kunjungi

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