Corruption is the core source of poverty and economic encumbrance in developing nations. It is a barrier to economic progress and stability in the developing nations. This is through discouraging investments and increasing production costs. It also reduces the confidence of people in the public institutions and also hinders the establishment of both small and medium sized businesses. Corruption is characterized by poor financial management of public funds by individuals in the public offices. To curb this demoralizing national crisis, what should the government do? The government should ensure there is public participation, transparency, decentralization of decision making, simple strategies, and open menu for the public when allocating national resources.
Kecamatan Development Program (KDP) is a program developed by the ministry of home affairs and community development in Indonesia. The KDP program was created to alleviate poverty, strengthen the local government, and improve local governance of community institutions. It was first established in the year 1998 following a major political upheaval in the nation. The upheaval caused a serious financial crisis in the public sector in Indonesia. Since its formation, KDP has immensely improvement the disbursement of financial resources in the nation. The allocation of financial resources by KDP is done through local public institutions. The institutions oversee and support local projects in different districts across the nation.
Kecamatan is funded by the government through its annual budget allocations. The program also gets its funding from donors as well as the World Bank. Indonesian sub-districts, also known as Kecamatan, gets about US $50,000 to US $150,000 from KDP. Allocation depends with the population in every district. Some of the projects being funded by KDP at the moment include; Samoa Aviation Investment Project, RMRP II Additional Financing, Solomon Islands Rural Development Project, Pacific Aviation Safety Office Reform, among others. The KDP program targets Indonesia's poorest sub-districts and villages. It is aimed to improve their economic welfare by creating employment opportunities in the areas.
The projects supported by the KDP program are chosen in various ways. One of them is through community participation. KDP emphasizes on active participation by women and the poor in the communities. There is also an open menu system of choosing projects. This is whereby the community members are given a platform to propose any project they desire. There is also the decentralization of decision making by KDP to include the community members. It is the underlying concern for KDP to give the local villagers freedom to make their own choice of projects. After a decision is made, KDP to funds and initiates the projects.
In 2008, Olken conducted a research aimed to test the effectiveness of direct democracy in achieving results. The experiment was conducted in Indonesia sub-districts by using statistics from one village. Olken varied the mechanisms used to select the public projects. The first treatment was the normal process, where public representatives met to make a decision on the project of their choice. The second treatment entailed the use of a plebiscite to select a project. The satisfaction of the villagers by the mechanisms used on the projects chosen was also being investigated. In this experiment, the treated was the variation of the mechanisms used to select the projects.
If a person argued that direct participation did not affect the projects chosen, it would be right. From Olken's experiment, both mechanisms used had little effect on the projects established. The only factor that varied was the level of satisfaction shown by the villagers in the two projects. The villagers expressed a high level of satisfaction and project awareness when direct democracy selection treated was used. They showed a vast understanding of the perceived benefits from the project after it was completed. The villagers were eager to partake in the actual project once it was established. The villagers were not actively responsive in participation when the meeting treatment in selecting a project was used.
Different political processes affect the outcome results of the projects voted by women. This is because of the social quo that marginalizes women in the decision making process. In most cases, the ratio of men to women who take place in the decision making processes is quite wide apart. That is with the women taken the smallest proportionate. In Kecamatan, this phenomenon was evidenced. In the villages that conducted elections women were only 14 percent likely to succeed in their choice of projects. The projects that were exclusively voted by women were mostly placed in the poorest areas of the villages. This portrays that as much as the state desires to create a non-corrupt system of selecting community projects women are still marginalized in decision making.
In conclusion, the government can reduce the level of corruption in the nation by allowing public participation in decision making. The KDP program in Indonesia is a remarkable demonstration of how society can be empowered to have a say in public resource allocation. This can be achieved by promoting public participation, transparency, decentralization of decision making, and an open menu project selection mechanism. People feel satisfied if they are allowed to choose the projects they want implemented. They have knowledge on the projects and are eager to participate in their establishment. Transparency when allocating public resources can eradicate corruption.