KPMD Freeing People from the Middlemen and Increase Welfare
The proliferation of middlemen in Bulu Cina Village drains the residents' income. Limited assets make residents have no other choice. The middlemen pay very high-interest rates. People who are unable to pay loans and interest will eventually be entangled with other debts. This condition causes some borrowers to be forced to sell their assets to pay off the pile of debt.
Not only that, the existence of middlemen is additional pressure for farmers. High fertilizer prices, low-estimated crop yields, and monopoly sales are losses that prevent farmers from earning more. In the long term, this condition may increase poverty in Bulu Cina Village.
Bulu Cina Village is supported by Gugah Nurani Indonesia (GNI) through the Medan Deli Serdang Community Development Project (CDP). Located in Hamparan Perak District, Deli Serdang Regency, North Sumatra Province, this village consists of 22 hamlets. There are about 13,452 people in it, of which the male population is 6,676 and the female population is 6,776. The majority of the population's occupations are laborers and farmers.
Aware of the increasing pressure from the middlemen, there was a desire from the residents to immediately be free from this pressure. The initiation of the meeting was carried out to find a way out of the grip of the middlemen who were already very disturbing to the population. In addition, making changes in Bulu Cina is also considered important so that later it can be used as a regional heritage for the next generation. The results of the meeting gave birth to the Komite Pemberdayaan Masyarakat Desa (hereinafter KPMD, Village Community Empowerment Committee), an organization that is expected to make changes in all fields. Chaired by Mr. Rusmanto, a native of Bulu Cina Village.
To cover the costs for the group needs and sustainability of the KPMD, a membership fee system of Rp.10,000 was made. In 2021, KPMD has managed to collect assets of Rp.200,000,000. KPMD has also established a savings and loan cooperative for supporting the economy of its members. With the existence of this cooperative, many farmers in Bulu China have been freed from the snares of middlemen who have always suppressed them. Their agricultural products are now sold directly to local markets and communities through cooperatives. The profits gained are bigger than when they are handled by middlemen. Residents also no longer borrow money from middlemen which freed them of debt that always ensnares high-interest rates.
Since 2011, GNI has assisted in workshops or meetings. Training such as bookkeeping and how to make fertilizer were provided for the cooperative members so that farmers can get fertilizer at low prices and no longer buy the high rate from middlemen.
KPMD also has a program that is engaged in the social sector, namely the Sejumput Beras (a pinch of rice) program. Every day, members who can donate a handful of rice will be collected at the KPMD. The collected rice is given to poor people. In addition, the cooperative also holds a low-cost basic food program. People who are less fortunate financially can buy groceries at affordable prices and orders are also delivered directly to the buyer's place of residence. Some of the KPMD membership fees are also used to help the poor.
In the child protection sector, GNI and KPMD have formed a children's forum since 2020. When they first joined the Children's Forum, many children lacked self-confidence but after that, they actively became more confident and creative. In fact, at the encouragement of the KPMD management, there was a Children's Forum administrator who was elected to represent Bulu Cina to the district level for youth and children's activities.
Meanwhile, in the education sector, GNI and KPMD are aggressively promoting the importance of early childhood education. The number of PAUD students currently is 60 children and continues to grow from the previous 30 children. KPMD is also committed to building asphalt for one of the early childhood education centers in Bulu Cina. Currently, the road has been paved as far as 1,500 meters, and this year it is also hoped that it will be completed up to 3,000 meters at the location of the PAUD. KPMD has some plans to further assist the development of the Children's Forum and PAUD.
The success of the program carried out by KPMD has moved the village government to pay more attention. At the beginning of the formation of the KPMD, the government's support was still lacking. Currently, the government is showing its concern, including providing a free-to-use-building facility for KPMD activities. In the future, this place will be integrated as an office for KPMD, Cooperatives, Children's Forum, and PAUD Forum.
The sense of caring between fellow residents in a village is proven to be able to encourage the lives of residents for the better, improve the welfare of the residents, make a real change in community life and increase stakeholder awareness of the needs of the residents.
Written by Sumedi Hutagalung
Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation Officer