2018 The World Bank – Local Solutions to Poverty, Jakarta, Indonesia
Can the Village Law improve socioeconomic conditions in Indonesia’s villages through better participation and governance? This is the central question that the Sentinel Villages study sets out to answer. The study observes the first two years of Village Law implementation to assess villagers’ participation, the transparency and accountability of village governments, and the influence of good governance principles on village decision-making processes for development investments. At the start of Village Law implementation, participation in village decision-making was still dominated by elites and men, particularly at village-level meetings, while sub-village- or even neighborhood-level meetings were more accessible to women and poorer people from the bottom 40 percent. Villagers tended not to participate largely because of the high opportunity costs and the perception that the discussions only concerned village government and community leaders. Being invited was less of an issue because, even when they were invited, more than half of the villagers did not attend.