"We are very interested in the Indonesian government's ways of alleviating poverty and lags in villages"
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Minister of Villages, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration, Abdul Halim Iskandar, received a visit from Timor-Leste's State Secretary for Local Development, Mateus Wilfredus dos Santos Tallo, to discuss Indonesia's village development measures.

"In developing villages, the most important thing is to start from the micro level by 'taking the picture' directly in rural areas rather than in urban ones," Iskandar said during the meeting held at his office in Jakarta on Tuesday.

He also emphasized the importance of giving people room to improvise and encouraging them to participate in the government's efforts to develop villages. He then expressed optimism that Indonesia and Timor-Leste will be able to take notes from one another on village development.

The minister further said that the Indonesian government disbursed Rp539 trillion (US$34.3 million) for the Village Fund during the period from 2015 to 2023.

He highlighted that the Village Fund has helped a total of 11,456 villages raise their status to independent villages, while 23,035 others have successfully transformed into developed villages.

According to him, these feats have been achieved owing to the Indonesian government's success in collecting comprehensive data and devising the 18 sustainability points outlined in the Village Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He further said that Indonesia will continue to pursue the Village SDGs, including by promoting cross-border cooperation among villages and taking notes from other countries' village development measures.

Meanwhile, Secretary Tallo expressed his country's keenness to learn from Indonesia about ways to develop and empower rural areas and communities.

"We are very interested in the Indonesian government's ways of alleviating poverty and lags in villages," he said.

He added that the Timorese government is eager to learn about the measures applied by Indonesia for realizing equitable development and positioning villages as economic centers.

"At the 13th ASEAN Ministers' Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication in Singapore, Mr. Iskandar elaborated on the use of the Village Fund for empowering rural communities," he recalled.

Tallo said he believes that Indonesia, which is home to 75,265 villages, can be a suitable role model for Timor-Leste on empowering rural communities and bringing progress to 452 villages scattered across the country.

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Translator: Zubi M, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Arie Novarina
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