Today, life isn't as tough as it used to be for Apan, a rubber farmer in Kota Bani Village, Putri Hijau Sub-District, Bengkulu Utara Regency, Bengkulu Province.
He no longer has to worry about delivering the rubber sap from the plantation to the collection point unlike before when the road connecting both places was not as properly constructed as it is presently.
The road is one of the several forms of infrastructure, along with the agriculture production hub, village roads, kindergarten, and drainage system, built with the village funds granted by the Ministry of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration gradually from 2018 to 2019.
"It was so tough delivering the crops since the road got so muddy when it rained and so rocky when it was sunny," Apan recalled.
Road development is deemed to significantly boost the income of villagers, who mostly rely on rubber and palm oil plantations for their livelihood.
Zaidin, the Kota Bani village head, remarked that before the central government had granted the fund, the village government was barely able to manage the Village Budget (ADD), which is part of the Regional Budget (APBD), thereby resulting in inequitable infrastructure development owing to budget inadequacy.
"The village fund helped us develop several vital and necessary infrastructure," Zaidin emphasized.
The Ministry of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration in 2018 bestowed the Resilient Village (Desa Sembada) award on Kota Bani Village for its success in the sustainable management of the village fund.
The resilient village is a term coined for a village that has succeeded in improving the quality of living of members of its community and has sustainable social, economic, and ecologic resilience.
As a result of this achievement, Kota Bani Village was ranked sixth on the list of Indonesia's best villages in 2018, taking into account the fact that it has all that it takes, in the form of basic public service and education and healthcare facilities, to become a role model of a village in Indonesia.
"We always ensure that all public services are operated by professionals only," Zaidin stated.
Kota Bani's rapid infrastructure and economic growth have lowered poverty to a significant extent. In 2015, some 120 poor families were recorded out of nearly six thousand villagers. But, in 2018, the number of poor families dropped considerably to only 63.
Zaidin remarked that the road map for village development ensures sustainable and smooth management of the village fund.
"Our success in being named as one of the best villages is just a bonus; the community's welfare is the main objective," Zaidin affirmed.
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