Nias (ANTARA) - Five village heads and ten village facilitators from Indonesia were sent to China and South Korea to participate in a Benchmarking Program or comparative study, a participant of this program said.

"We are assigned to China to join this Benchmarking Program," said Berkati Ndraha, a participant from Gido Subdistrict, Nias District, North Sumatra, in a short message that he sent to Antara here on Saturday.

Initiated by the Indonesian Ministry of Village, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration, this Benchmarking Program was aimed at empowering the village heads, village assistants, and village activists in supporting rural development and community empowerment programs.

The village heads and facilitators joining this program are selected from those passing a performance evaluation and recommended by various parties.

According to Berkati who has arrived in China, the participants of the program consist of five village heads and 10 village facilitators. Two of them represent North Sumatra Province.

"They are sent to China and Korea, and I am one of them," said Berkati Ndraha, a village assistant in Hilizoi Village, Gido Subdistrict.

The participants, including himself and his colleague from Batubara District in North Sumatra Province, would be in China from March 23 to April 2, 2019. "We were flagged off by Village, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Minister Eko Putro Sandjojo," he said.

Before leaving for China, the participants were received by the Chinese ambassador to Indonesia, he said, adding that this Benchmarking Program was expected to enable him to get insightful information and knowledge about the development of an agricultural economy.

Minister of Village, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Eko Putro Sandjojo said earlier that an overseas comparative study was expected to help improve the participants' competence, and bring about innovation in village management and rural development.

In addition, the participants are also expected to build networks, improve knowledge and open markets between village heads and foreign partners.

For this year, Eko said his ministry had planned to send one thousand participants comprising village heads, village activists, and village assistants to several other countries for comparative studies, including Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Translator: Eliswan Azly
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2019