The term “Village” is very close to the heart of Indonesian society. Village is often being used to describe the life of the “middle-low class” society. But the term “Desa / Village” has a different connotation according to the Perpu (a regulation in lieu of law). According to the Article 1, UU No 6/2014 about Desa (UU Desa): “the Village is a unit of community that has boundaries with the authority to regulate and manage the affairs of government, the interests of local communities based on community initiatives, the right of the origin, and / or traditional rights recognized and respected in the system of government of the Republic of Indonesia.”
From this above understanding, the state regard Village as a people institution which is given a big authority to regulate and manage all affairs in order to promote the welfare and prosperity of its members. The Government has allocated “funds” in the State Budget (APBN) to support the villages building throughout the country. In 2017, the Village Fund was Rp 60 trillion, and the plan was to double the amount in 2018. Besides, giving room for community initiatives reflects the nation building approach which is Bottom Up or in other words the village community is expected to play an active role in building their own villages.
B. Problems: The Role of Village Chief in Village Building
With the right and fund given by the Central Government to the village officers, there are few things that still need to be improved. The Law On Village has stated a few regulations which need to be known by the village community:
There are three main problems in Village Building and the Use of the Village Fund.
1. The Drafting of RPJM Desa (The Middle Term Plan of Village Building): Problem Identified—wrong priority.
The drafting of the RPJM Desa is the responsibility of the Village Chief as mandated in Article 79 the Law on Village. And the PP (Government Regulation) No. 43/2014 about Village for six years. Many chief villages failed to identify the priorities in their villages, especially for infrastructures. The chief village should be able to see the needs of their village—to build a new or renovation.
For instance, if the price of the basic commodities is unsteady (fluctuating) caused by the high transportation cost, the chief village should be able to see the needs for better infrastructure so to ensure a steadier price for basic commodities. But sometimes they use the funds to build religions facilities, such as mosques or churches (which are not the priorities yet . The use of village fund will be efficient only when the village chief is able to identify the roots of the village’s problems.
2. The Management of the Use of Village Fund: The Allocation Was Not Strategic
Still in regard to the above issue, the village chief ought to be able to allocate their funds according to what has been written in RPJM Desa. Based on Article 74 (2) The Law On Village, the priority of the use of the Village Fund Budget, are: primary needs (Food, Clothing, and Housing), Basic Service (Education, Health, and Infrastructure), environment and activities to Empower the Village Community. The village chief is expected to use the funds as what they have drafted in the RPJM Desa. The drafting and the executing are to be in agreement so that the Village Fund could be used for the right target.
Based on the needs above, if the needs of the village is to build better infrastructure in order to provide lower prices for logistics, the village chief should be able to identify how much funds they could use from the given fund. They should not just divide the fund equally but have to apply priority scales for their villages.
3. Report and the Transparency in the Realisation of the Village Fund
To support the two previous concerns, the village chiefs are expected to report the realisation of the Village Fund Budget as part of their responsibility to the higher government (Regents / Mayors) as well as to the village community. The report needs to be done appropriately and will determine the following year Budget. Accountable to the village community, the village chiefs are to socialise the funds and help the community understanding how they use the fund; what kind of projects they will build and why. According to the Memorandum of Understanding between Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Village and Remote Village Development together with the Police of the Republic of Indonesia (Polri), every village chief needs to make a banner that contain all the programs and the realisation of programs as well as the use of the Village Fund, at least the banner has to be placed in their office  This will be used to supervise the work of the village government as well as to provide transparency of Village Fund for the village community.
C. Conclusion & Recommendation
Village Chiefs need to know a few things: the ability to identify the problem of their village so they can make a plan for their village. The plan is to be the uttermost accurate and at the right target. Besides, to have the skill to allocate the Village Fund accordingly and properly as drafted in the RPJM. Third, to produce accountable and transparent report for a clean and transparent government in their village.
From the above mentioned, a few recommendations:
- Government or those who concern about villages should equip village chiefs with the knowledge that enable them to identify or to map the problems in their village—to set priority so they can decide the allocation of village fund for the prime-program of their village, to produce reports which are transparent and accountable.
- Involved in the supervision of the use of the village fund to create a transparent village government which seek to promote the welfare of the village community.
Article 1 the Law on Village
 the Bottom-Up approach is the plan that give rooms for the community to participate starting from the conception to the evaluation. In this case, the government only serve as the facilitator.
 This example was taken from BBC Indonesia,
http://www.bbc.com/indonesia/berita_indonesia/2015/09/150909_indonesia_dana_desa_ekonomi accessed on 27 November 2017.
Polri Temukan 214 Kasus Penyalahgunaan Dana Desa, BBC Indonesia,https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20171020112724-12-249704/polri-temukan-214-kasus-penyalahgunaan-dana-desa/, accessed on 27 November 2017.
Sumber gambar: www.radarlamsel.com
Yonatan Iskandar Chandra (Leimena Institute’s Researcher).