National Economic Development through village society empowerment
By MG Ana Budi Rahayu
Since new order administation until now, issues concerning increasing of wellbeing of the peasants in the villages is dinamic. Whatever government’s policy to increase the peasants’ wellbeing often received critics and controversies from a number of parties. Some say the peasants as “grass root people” whose life is getting more pressurized and must become victim of the government’s economic policy. Now lets take look at back how is paddy basic price set, reducing subsidize fertilizer, hike fuel price and recently deals with import policy which is felt to be detrimental to the peasant’s wellfare.
On the other side, the national development also resulted gap between village and city. Many researchers have proved that development will cause farther gap between village and city. It is obviously realized, developing country like Indonesia concentrates economic development on industrial sector which requires big investments to run after growth. As a result, another sector like agricultural sector is put aside which finally the development is only centralized in the cities. This is also in accordance to Kuznets hipothesis that in the growth stage, early growth is followed with poor equalization and after it entered further development, equalization would be better. (Todaro, 2000) Factors influencing such gap are different educational background, availability work field, investment infrastructure, and policy (Arndt, 1988).
Currently, many village society development experts revealed this problem. Because in fact the peasants are still poor, because production related matters such as human resources capacity, capital, and policy remain unchanged year by year despite in different form. Study concerning village poverty by Sarman and Sajogyo (2000) showed that village areas in Central Sulawesi reached 48, 08% meanwhil in urban area was approximately 12, 24%. This study uses a joint review approach so that criteria of povery are very localistic in relating to satisfaction of basic needs and society ownership.
There are many government projects/programs which have been conducted to support economic development of rural society. Such project/program is conducted by each department or interdepartment. Generally the projects which were launched still in stage of granting physical assistance to society. They are in the form of irrigation facility, contribution of sprayer, pumping machine, development of clean water facility, etc. In fact, when project completed the project outputs could not work or lost. Some factors caused failure of such projects are: (1) Unsuitability between the need of society and assistance provided (2) project package not equipped with supporting skill (3) no planned monitoring activity (4) no institution at society level which continues project.
Learning from such number of failures, the next generation of projects equipped with another aspect such as training for skill, institutional formation at society level, existence of field officer, involving Lembaga Swadaya Masyarakat (NGO). Or on the other words some projects are manged and with use of society empowerment approach. Compared with former generation, result of project longer used by socety even developing to give positive effects.
Empowerment is part of developmental pradigm which focused attention to all principle aspects from human in its surrounding that is started from intellectual aspect (human resources), material and physical aspects, until managerial aspects. Those aspects can be developed become socio culture, economy, politic, security and environmental aspects.
Further review to this paper is what roles of rural society empowerment in the government programs to increase income. And then how much rural society economic activities to support the national economy. Such topic is still relevant to discuss for agenda of future of Indonesia’s Economic development bearing in mind that rural society existence qualitatively and quantitatively become opportunity and challenge.