Village Empowerment Committee (KPMD): Platform of Mutual Care
Buluh Cina Village is located in the Hamparan Perak sub-district, Deli Serdang Regency, North Sumatra, with a population of around 13,452 people. The residents there engage in various occupations, including laborers, private sector employees, farmers, livestock traders, small grocery store owners, and eateries. The village also boasts plantation areas operated by Perkebunan Nusantara II, encompassing sugarcane, tobacco, and oil palm plantations, providing significant economic potential within Buluh Cina Village.
Amid the rapid economic growth in Buluh Cina, middlemen emerged who troubled the local economic stakeholders. These middlemen exerted pressure on the villagers and forced them to borrow money at high interest rates, causing the community to be unable to repay the loans and interest. Eventually, borrowers found themselves entangled in further debt. These middlemen also controlled the prices of farmers' harvests and sold fertilizers at high prices.
Local residents held meetings to seek a way out of the troubling middlemen situation, leading to the formation of a platform that aimed to bring about changes across all fields, named the Village Empowerment Committee (KPMD).
Furthermore, KPMD began to initiate various activities, one of which was establishing a cooperative. This aimed to provide economic support to members across different ventures. The cooperative implemented a savings and loan system, assisting its members in bolstering their family's economy. The presence of this cooperative has freed many farmers in Buluh Cina from the grip of middlemen. Their harvests are now sold through the cooperative and local markets, resulting in greater profits compared to dealing with middlemen. Residents are no longer dependent on loans from middlemen, which helps them escape the trap of high-interest debts.
KPMD formed a partnership with Gugah Nurani Indonesia. Gugah Nurani Indonesia provided mentoring and played the role of a facilitator in workshops and meetings. For instance, they trained cooperative members in bookkeeping and provided training on creating fertilizers, enabling farmers to obtain fertilizers at affordable prices and no longer purchase from middlemen at inflated rates.
KPMD also contributes to the education sector by forming a Children's Forum, serving as a platform for regeneration and also aiming to foster better behavioral changes among children in Buluh Cina. Previously, many members of the Children's Forum lacked self-confidence, but after actively participating, they have become more self-assured and creative.
The success of the programs carried out by KPMD has transformed the initially indifferent village government into a more attentive one. Now, they provide a government-owned building for KPMD's use, along with the cooperative, Children's Forum, and Early Childhood Education (PAUD) Forum for free.
KPMD has sparked a sense of mutual care among the community and has brought about positive changes in village life, moving it towards a better direction.
Sumedi Ryan Hutagalung
DME Gugah Nurani Indonesia HO