Discussion Advocacy on Governance of Village Treasury Land for Poor Communities

Thursday, 28 November 2019.

Together with FORMASI (Civil Society Forum) Kebumen, AKATIGA held a discussion on “Policy Advocacy Strategy: Natural Resources/Land, Agriculture, Job Opportunities for Young People in Rural Areas. The discussion was held at the Formasi Headquarters, Jl. South Circle No. km. 4, Pakeyongan, Podoluhur, Klirong, Kebumen.

Attended by representatives of village officials and youth representatives from the villages of Bonorowo, Sinungrejo, Podoluhur, Sidomulyo, Kritig and Kalibeji. Also attending were Rajif Diw Angga from IRE (Institute for Research and Empowerment) Yogyakarta and Agus Nahrowi from CSE (Centre of Social Excellence) Indonesia. Discussions were scheduled to share views regarding advocacy efforts to encourage village treasury land management so that it can be accessed by the poor and young people.

As an opening for the discussion, Yusuf Murtiono from FORMASI explained that the function of the village treasury/prosperity land is to prosper the villagers themselves. Because of that, FORMASI is trying to push for reform of village wealth/village treasury land governance in Kebumen so that it can be accessed by the poor who have no land.

Since ancient times, rent money from village treasury land auctions has been the village’s original income (PADes) needed for village operations. However, after the Allocation of Village Funds (ADD) and Village Funds (DD), the village government should have been able to let go of dependence on village treasury land rents. What needs to be understood is that the poor community’s access to village treasury land is actually a tangible manifestation of improving people’s livelihoods and maintaining food security in the village.

Nofa from AKATIGA added about how access to village treasury land should also be allocated for young people. AKATIGA’s research found that even though young people want to get involved in agriculture, they are still constrained by many things. Among other things, the difficulty of access to land and the lack of innovative farming knowledge that provides better income. In this case, with the allocation of land for young people to access, it will be an opportunity for them to be able to enter agricultural employment.

From the initiatives driven by FORMASI, several villages in Kebumen have provided access to village land for underprivileged residents and young people. One of them is the village of Sidomulyo in Petanahan District. Since 2014, Sidomulyo Village started the system. The benefits have been equally felt by the community and government in the village.

The hope is that this good practice can be passed on to other villages in Kebumen. For this reason, it is necessary to make written references (regulations) for managing village treasury land with good practices such as in Sidomulyo, which can be used as guidelines for other villages in Kebumen.

Policy Advocacy Principles and Strategies
Regarding the advocacy efforts that will be pursued, Rajif from IRE and Gusrowi from CSE shared their experiences and knowledge, so that they can become lessons for advocacy for managing village treasury land in Kebumen.

Rajif said that in IRE’s experience, the policy advocacy process starts with formulating an issue or problem. Starting with mapping the problems that must be seen as a whole, whether they originate from existing policies (eg the RPJMN in implementing the Village Law), or phenomena that have not been accommodated in policies.

Then sit down the problem to be addressed, and examine the facts at the micro level, comparing between expectations and reality. After that build a more appropriate formulation of policy proposals. Next is policy communication, namely conveying to related parties about what must be done in changing policies. Then collaborate with the parties to oversee the process of entering the proposal as government policy.

On the other hand, Gusrowi from CSE explained important principles in the public policy advocacy process. He began his presentation by clarifying again the meaning of advocacy, namely the process of accompanying, defending what is the right of the people. It’s a principle. Gusrowi emphasized that in advocating for a public policy, it is very important what is called empathy, namely sympathy followed by action. We need to think about the good and bad impacts that will arise and affect whom.

The parties involved have the right to know about this, especially those who are adversely affected. If there is resistance in the process, don’t see it as a dead end/must cross paths. Don’t just look at what appears to be different on the surface, but explore the depths of each other’s interests, so that you can see where their interests meet. That is the key for the parties to collaborate.

Village Representative Response
When the discussion forum was opened, the responses from the village representatives were quite varied and interesting. Some expressed doubts and tendencies to disagree. Basyuni, a Bonorowo village official, explained that he thought the idea of ​​managing village treasury land was interesting, but for now he chose to study first how it would benefit other villages. However, he hopes there will be clearer and more focused guidelines. For example, district level regulations.

Meanwhile Kukuh, a representative of the Sinungrejo village apparatus, revealed that their party was not yet interested in the idea of ​​village treasury land for youth. Aside from the reasons that village youth prefer to work abroad, according to Mas Kukuh, currently the village’s need for income from village treasury land rent is still high.

On the other hand, a positive response and support also emerged from the village representatives. Ruslin, Sidomulyo Village apparatus representative said that currently they have provided access to village treasury land to the poor with a rotating auction system. As well as giving access to young people through the youth organization.

Asrodin, Head of Podoluhur Village, thinks that this initiative is a good opportunity to rearrange treasury land in their village so that it can open up opportunities for young groups. This is supported by the BPD  which will draw up village treasury land regulations.

Then Agus, an official from Kalibeji Village, revealed that even though the method was different, this proposal was in line with the vision and mission of the Kalibeji government. The Kalibeji village government is currently conducting a trial run of diversification of agricultural commodities, namely planting bitter gourd on the village head’s crooked land. In the future, it will be expanded to other land areas by involving young groups as farmer partners.

Regarding village treasury land, although so far it has been used for RT incentives, representing the village head’s view, Agus sees that in the future there will still be opportunities. For example, if the village treasury land is managed by youth, it can be optimized so that the profit sharing can meet the incentive needs for RTs.

Feedback and Feedback
Based on the responses from the village representatives, Rajif then provided input on what could be done for the advocacy process going forward. Are as follows ; a) inventory of village treasury land and its use. Based on the PP on implementation of the Village Law, district governments can be asked to facilitate the identification and inventory of existing assets in the village. b) make use of hamlet meetings and village meetings to bring together each other’s interests. c) Villages need to think about how to develop an inclusive and democratic local economy.

d) it is necessary to mainstream social inclusion, that we prioritize the most disadvantaged. e) for district-level regulatory advocacy, in addition to assessing village land governance, the villages involved also need to be facilitated to agree together on what changes are expected, so that they become considerations in the policies being advocated.

Meanwhile, Gusrowi reminded again that there is a term, deso mowo coro (every village has its way), which needs to be contemplated in this process. Each village has a way of solving problems, don’t let this advocacy be unable to accommodate that. To get there, it may be necessary to enter from the village government first, encouraged to think about people’s welfare, not yet to regulations at a higher level in the district.

The entry strategy uses a method and language that is easily accepted in each village. What needs to be discussed first is how all residents have concern for disadvantaged residents by giving part of the village treasury land that they jointly own.

In closing, Lia from AKATIGA explained that the current discussion process is in the initial process of bringing together common interests. In the future, we will continue to collect knowledge of how much and for whom this village treasury land is used so that we can encourage more appropriate and better policies.