Purwakarta, 28 February 2010 - PNPM Mandiri or National Community Empowerment Program has its own way to anticipate and handle fraud. PPM or Complaints Handling Unit is a unit established for this objective. Socialization of this unit has been done as well and community has started to report many frauds to CHU. PNPM Oversight Committee shows its commitment to improve this unit to handle complaints or problems better in the future. Meanwhile, there is strong recommendation that community should be supported by legal aid organization to ensure proper knowledge for processing the fraud. Here are some points taken from PNPM radio talk show done in February 2010. The discussion presented Vivi Yulaswati, Head Directorate of Program Development for Poverty Reduction, National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas); Syarif Abadi, Director of Legal Aid Office from Lampung (South Sumatra) and Naning Sariningsih, Head of UPK (Sub-district Activity Management Unit) from Darangdan Sub-district, Purwakarta, West Java.
Vivi Yulaswati admits that PNPM implementation must have critics. For that reason, PNPM is equipped with problem reporting mechanism called CHU. “This is realization of good governance,” she said. Efforts to report and handle the problem should come first from community itself. “Community should be motivated to proactively report any fraud and involve in every step of problem handling until the problems is concluded solved,” she continued. If the problem can be solved independently by the community, the fund can be returned directly to the community, not to the government.
The reporting mechanism is created in tiers. Community can report the fraud started from village level. When the problem unsolved at this level, it goes to sub-district level, district level and so on. Nationally, the PNPM Oversight Committee is in charge for this complaints handling.
Syarif Abadi said, problem solution should not always go through formal legal procedure. Mediation is usually recommended. “Mediation promises quick process and direct community involvement. However, the decision will not give big effect to the violators because it does not have legal consequences,” he said. On the contrary, formal legal process will take long time and need more energy. Legal aid should also be provided to the community. “But the decision has legal consequences.”
One example of successful problem handling by community happened in Darangdan Sub-District, Purwakarta, West Java. The former Head of UPK is now in jail for 15 years because of corruption of PNPM fund equivalent to Rp 500 million (approx. $55,000). Naning Sariningsih, the present Head of UPK explained, “When we wanted to get the fund, it left only 10% than it should be. We gave him one week to return the money and he failed to do so. Then, we held inter-village meeting to discuss the problem and the meeting decided to process the case legally,” said Naning.
What makes community want to be involved in finding solution of this problem? “We were in the middle of program implementation. The consultant gave us conditions if we want to continue receiving the fund: the case should be solved and support from community and government should be regained,” explained Naning. Naning and the community at her sub-district now learn that they have to obediently follow the rules in managing PNPM fund. “We have to be more careful now. We are motivated to manage the fund much better. UPK should be more often monitor program implementation,” she said.
Vivi admitted that CHU still needs to be improved. “If necessary, we can involve media, so the process becomes quicker.” She asked community to be actively involved in monitoring program implementation. “Community involvement will be the success key of this program. This is about transparency and accountability. Community should be aware about their rights by reporting any fraud.” For this reason – according to Syarif – community should be empowered. Continuous advocacy efforts and legal assistance from legal aid office or NGOs are needed so community has proper knowledge about legal issues. At the moment, his legal office provides legal assistance to community through 20 legal posts in some districts. Various legal-related trainings are given to the community so they can detect any form of fraud happen in their areas.
About PNPM Mandiri
The National Program of Community Empowerment (PNPM) Mandiri is a national program in the form of a policy framework as a basis and reference for implementing community empowerment-based poverty reduction programs. This program was launched by the Government in Palu in 2007 and will be implemented up to 2015, in line with the time target of achieving the MDGs (Millenium Development Goals). It is expected that, for the period 2007 – 2015, the capital of community independency has been created so that program sustainability can be realized. The implementation of PNPM Mandiri is commenced with the Sub-district Development Program (SDP).
The objective of PNPM Mandiri is to independently improve the welfare and employment opportunities of poor communities, by enhancing community participation and capacity to settle a variety of problems related to the efforts of improving their life quality, independency and welfare by efficiently using their social and economic potential.