PNPM SPADA: Working together to overcome disadvantages in Indonesia

July 21, 2010

  • Challenges faced by the collaboration between local government and communities in developing the disadvantages areas
  • PNPM SPADA managed to improve the capacity of the communities and local government, as well as supporting the peace particularly in conflict areas

Jakarta, July 21, 2010 - According to the data of the State Ministry for the Accelerated Development of Disadvantaged Regions 2009, 183 districts in Indonesia are still in a disadvantaged status. This figure is lower than the previous year of 199 districts. To improve the development of disadvantages areas in Indonesia, particularly at district level, in 2005 the Government of Indonesia launched PNPM Mandiri Daerah Tertinggal dan Khusus also known as Support for Poor and Disadvantages Areas (SPADA). This national program is intended to accelerate the socio-economic recovery and growth of the poor and disadvantaged areas by developing the capacity of local governments, communities and private sectors in implementing development in their regions. The close linkages between the regional governments, communities and private sectors in implementing the program and the coverage of area are unique characteristics of SPADA. As introduced by the facilitator of West Sumba, NTT, Ir Didik Wahyudi, in a program of Radio Talk Show KBR68H in Kedai Tempo on 21 July 2010, "The Program can be synergized with the interests of development in the regions as in this program we know that the activities funded must be inter-village or inter sub-district. It is not found in other programs. Therefore, though the budget is small, the program can provide big benefits. That’s we expect"

In its implementation, this program consists of four main activities, including infrastructure, education, health and private sector development. In addition, SPADA also pays close attention to improving the role of women and young people to support the climate of peace, particularly in conflict areas. Seen from the uniqueness of SPADA, in relation to the aspects of the parties involved, the implementation mechanisms and the type of activities, this program certainly has a separate challenge in its implementation. The high number of parties involved has resulted in the long implementation phase and the bureaucratic process that must be undertaken, causing delays in the program implementation. It is agreed by Ediyan, SE, MP, the Head of Social Planning of Bappeda (Regional Development Planning Board), Sambas District, West Kalimantan. According to him, the long mechanism has brought variety responses from the communities. While from the bureaucratic aspect, constraints are also encountered due to the strong culture of dominance by the local government in the activity process that must be minimized in order to improve community participation.

In addition to the long phase of its implementation, this program also deals with problems of the conditions of the community itself in the disadvantaged areas. According to Didik, the other challenge in implementing this program lies in human resources that reluctant to be more developed, and they also have strong traditions. The same constraints are also expressed by Yusri Ina Kii, the Beneficiary of West Sumba, "I feel a small gap. The main obstacle is the local culture in our place in West Sumba district where women are provided with less opportunity. It is based on the local culture which always gives the second priority to women. As a result, women are not proactive or they do not participate optimally in the program activities".

In view of the big challenges that must be faced, during the five years of its implementation, the program can sufficiently bring positive impacts on the community life - both in disadvantaged areas and conflict areas. As told by the Beneficiary of West Sumba, Federik Bole, "Disputes among the tribes in my area have been reduced as they are accommodated by the proposal of the youth. Here, quarrels often occur among the youths. However, with this program, we make a program where the youths in my area can be clearly seen. SPADA is more transparent, in the sense that what the community wants is really prioritized". Another positive impact is the improved capacity of the communities and local government. Ediyan said that improving the capacity of communities and local government officials will help them understand about the participatory development planning. As a result, all parties involved will have a better understanding of the development processes in their regions.

Various positive impacts of this program on the communities make the parties involved expect that this program can be sustainably implemented. Didik said that people had currently shown responsive attitudes towards the implementation of activities, and he expected that SPADA could be implemented for another 10 to 50 years. Responding to this expectation, Hanibal stated, "Sustainability of the program funding will again be provided in the next phase by improving the designs in the future. It is in accordance with the KPDT targets, namely 50 districts are expected to come out of being left behind in 2014”.