24 October 2013
Melung Village is a village at Selatan Gunung Slamet in Kedungbantengg district, Banyuas Regencyy, Central Java. Besides striving to become a tourism and educational village, this village is also making efforts to build accountability principles by implementing local wisdom and public information openness law.
On June 2013, Melung Village elected Khoeruddin as the village chief. The 41-year-old man is a graduate of Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of University of Jenderal Soedirman. The previous village chief was Agung Budi Satrio.
Below interview with Khoeruddin by kebebasaninformasi.org editorial team tells the success story of Melung Village in encouraging openness and participation of villagers.
What has been done to expand the insight of villagers about the importance of knowledge and information?
Our village used to be underdeveloped. During two previous leadership periods of village chiefs, there were many improvements. So, I carry forward those improvements.
We subscribe to newspapers so that people can have high information literacy. We pay for ojek (motorcycle taxi) because of the long distance. After telephone network reached our village, we set up internet connection. With that, we could build networks with other villages, including villages in Gerakan Desa Membangun.
We are now setting up seven internet hotspots so that people can look for information regarding agriculture, commodity prices and other things.
The challenge is teaching people to use computers and internet. “We are used to using sickle,” they said. “You use cycle during the day, but you learn how to use mouse at night,” I said. They will slowly get used to it.
How do you implement principles of openness to villagers?
There are several things that have been done.
First, we have Selapangan (meeting with villager) every 40 days with community unit (RT), neighborhood unit (RW) and village council. There are around 2,240 people in this village, but this Selapanga is usually attended by around 100 people, depending on villagers’ availability.
Second, there are also meetings in each RT attended by people in that RT.
Third, we have a website named melung.desa.id that contains various information about Melung Village, such as its programs and financial report. Melung Village also has android app called melung APK.
Fourth, we have established Information and Documentation Official (PPID), as stipulated in the public information openness law (UU KIP).
Since when did you know about UU KIP?
I was in the village authority during Agung Budi Satrio’s term. He served as village chief from 2002 to 2007 and then from 2007 to 2013. I already knew about UU KIP during that time through Gerakan Membangun Desa.
What are the effects of this openness?
What we are doing is still in process. We have not yet seen financial impact. Personally, people will gain benefit if the village is known not only for its openness, but also for its flagship commodities. Infrastructure will also improve if participation of villages increases. For example, out last meeting which was about PNPM program was attended by 45 people. We discussed some development that we would like to do, such as building Pertiwi Kindergarten and irrigation for RT 1.
What is your hope for the future?
This is still in process. Our village may be secluded, but we hope we can be up-to-date to information and knowledge. Principally, all these efforts aim to build accountable and trustworthy public services. I hope other villages can do the same.