Restoring the Rights of the People: The Experience of Nahdliyyin Center Pekalongan in Developing and Empowering Communities

“After the political era political parties competing for power, followed by the power of the professionals and then the army / military for thirty years, now came the era to witness the emergence of the role of religious institutions (such as clerics and so on).
—– KH Abdurrahman Wahid, “Are Pesantren Hold Politics?,”, October 5, 2005

NU has a lot of followers in Indonesia. Culturally, NU became the largest religious organization in the country. The potential is great, other than the number of members who are many, are also educational facilities like boarding school and madrasas. Autonomous agencies and also donated a role for community empowerment.

In the above quote, the former NU chairman Abdurrahman Wahid-new close eye on December 30, 2009 then-implies the emergence of roles over NU after the reformation. And, NU seems to continue to realize that hope. One is in Pekalongan, forming Nahdliyyin Center.

Community Center, What and Why?

Citizens are entitled to an excellent public service of the government as a public service provider. If there is a deficiency, delay or diversion, the citizens have the right to make complaints. Through the community center (citizens assemblies) that is the container. Of complaints, residents took the initiative to mediate between themselves to get their rights.

Community center to be one of strengthening the participation efforts. Collective consciousness to defend itself through the associations that developed in different regions. Encouragement comes from within after meeting at various cultural forums. Residents in the city of Semarang, Tangerang, Pekalongan and Malang, have done so. A similar movement and Bantaeng Jeneponto residents in South Sulawesi.

The idea is quite simple community center, which is a container or a complaint center for people who are not satisfied with the basic service. For example, health services by health centers and basic education services, provided by the local government, especially the poor and women.

Through the community center, residents who had the same complaint against a public service can make complaints together. Community centers also become a vehicle for people who have not dared to complain openly expressed but requires completion of the problem.

The establishment of complaint center for residents in several villages / villages in the area, departing from the needs of the community itself. In a discussion involving mostly poor, people identify the condition of public services received. From the discussions, it emerged that the statement was having trouble people, even in a complaint obscurity, leaving many residents are reluctant to make complaints despite not getting good service.

There was even among people who do not know the mechanism of access to basic services, including procedures and mechanisms. This is because, in addition to the lack of education levels, as well as government officials are not heavily in socializing. In the citizen’s information center, they could play into the container accumulation and gastrointestinal complaints. In addition, it is expected to act as a tool of learning to access basic services from the government.

In the next phase, the community center has entered the realm of development evaluation. Pegiatnya involvement in the planning and budgeting. Community participation and control to ensure that development policies can be really beneficial to the community and implemented without deviation. In fact, the current community center has also been transformed into implementing government policy, other than as a target. This evolution occurs thanks to the synergy between the citizens of the critical and wise government.

In fact, the awareness of the average citizen to participate in and control the planning and budgeting process is still low. Most people still think that the process of planning and budgeting do not pertain directly to their lives.

Therefore, through community centers, residents can be made aware that the actual process of planning and budgeting can greatly affect their daily lives. For example, if on a budget a region only a small budgeted for health insurance services in the hospital so the poor should get a higher fee when they need health services at government hospitals.

Many community residents have successfully lobbied the government to allocate more funds for education, health care for the poor, and a more gender-sensitive budgeting. Shift from old patterns that promote the demonstration, a group of citizens with government agencies are now involved in the public consultation, budget hearings and task forces among stakeholders through the community center. With the organizational skills and a new advocacy coalition to gain the trust of the citizens more responsive government officials.

The involvement of civil society in the implementation of the budget work (including analysis, advocacy, and budget transparency) can be a powerful way to force the government to be accountable as well as to introduce policies to provide assistance for people who are less fortunate. Involve and organize citizens through community centers, can actually force the government to be more accountable about their spending practices. Rembug citizens (town-hall meetings) and the revival of the tradition of community meetings to build consensus, a forum for constructive engagement of citizens and government.

Five community center’s role is as follows. First, as an information center for the community. Community centers are formed with an awareness of the importance of this information, is expected to play a role in seeking access to information related to the needs of society, especially the poor and women. Such information may include information related to people’s livelihood, either as farmers, fishermen, traders, laborers, students as well as those related to public services in health, education, employment, housing and so on.

To perform this function, community center seek to find, request and obtain the necessary information from a variety of local public body or agency, from other sources of information and media available, as well as by using information technology and communication. Then, the community center will package the information to be easily understandable, interesting and in accordance with the wishes of the people. The next step is to socialize or disseminate information to the public, either directly through community meetings and through the media flyers, radio, billboards, community media and through the use of internet technology.

Second, the community center functioned as a community center. Where people can get together, talk and discuss the problems they face in order to make joint activities to address these issues.

For example, in a joint activity will happen to exchange experiences on how to utilize the services and programs of the government. For example, how to take care of and get HIP / Jamkesmas; anyone who is entitled to Jamkesmas, BLT and BOS, how many dollars can be received, and where to go take care of it: how to make a proposal for a revolving fund from the budget, and so on.

Third, community centers can also serve as a companion to the public, both in the use of government programs and services, as well as the empowerment and strengthening communities.
Fourth, community center functioned as a mediator that connects people with local interests. Community center to bridge the aspirations of the community and then submitted to the government. Vice versa, community center can be utilized local government to deliver government programs are being conducted.

Fifth, the community center as a solid container for the community to advocate for policy change efforts. An example is the advocacy to promote freedom of information in the area (the application of Law No. 14 of 2008 on Public Information), and in an effort to push for rules on the disclosure of information in the form of local regulation (law) and efforts to encourage the formation of a commission of information at the district level.

Establish a Community Center

PATTIRO (Assessing and Regional Information Center) in different areas have been inspired and initiated the establishment of community centers in their respective areas. During a decade PATTIRO stand, found three patterns in the formation of community center. Each has strengths and weaknesses.

The first pattern, is the establishment by local partners who have stood before, and formalized a community center. They have organized themselves in the form of NGOs or professional associations, such as farmers’ groups. Intervention process runs after intensive discussions with the agency.

The second pattern is a community center to form an entirely new one. PATTIRO initiate the establishment of community center with approaches ranging from the key figures (key person), and then continued the discussion focused, to the establishment of community centers. This happened in Lebak and Serang, Banten.

The establishment of community centers through indepth interviews while looking for a key person. Having obtained the names, and then invited to participate in the community discussions. Followed by a workshop forming community center in order to understand the function, role, the urgency of the community center. Next conducted formal institutionalization of management structure. Democratic elections, and directly in the forum workshop.

The third pattern is the “transplanting” community center for large organizations that have been established. The pattern is what happened to Nahdliyyin Center Pekalongan who is the incarnation of the community center became an integral part of the structure of the Executive Branch NU (PCNU) Pekalongan.

The process of formation of the three patterns were almost the same, beginning with the gathering of the people, and a discussion about the mapping of public services in the local area. Subsequent establishment of a work program over time accompanied by the appointment of who is responsible. It distinguishes the growth process is the community center sustainibilitas or sustainability.

The initiative does not always appear and interests to advocate for their own community needs strut structures, both formal and informal. In this position, a third pattern, namely the establishment of community center with a “grafting” on a well-established organizations such as NC, have benefited. NU structures are scattered in 47 villages throughout Pekalongan greatly simplify the process of consolidation, coordination, and of course the usefulness of the community center.

Pekalongan, a northern coastal city in Central Java. NU majority, and known by the nickname City of Batik. Social problems in the city also is quite complex, and NU has initiated the establishment of community center-called Nahdliyyin Center-as an integral part of the structure. His position as a permanent work team.

NU stewardship initiatives Pekalongan period 2007-2012, chaired this Rofiq Ahmad H, worthy imitated by other Islamic organizations-particularly NU in other areas. Potential members, network access and infrastructure facilities Islamic organizations underpinning the success of the establishment of “public servant agencies” this.

This book will expose an explanation of the community center, whose existence is necessary, when regulations on public disclosure established by Act No. 14 of 2008. Continued Nahdliyyin Center in affirming experience building organizations. Including volunteers NC success story in health advocacy, education and health.

Experience NC is a manifestation of Islam as an explanation of what rahmatan lil’alamin. Religion which underpins the development and empowerment of the people. KH Abdurrahman Wahid wrote in Tempo, July 1, 1978, “The truth of the clergy alone can clarify the meaning of religion for development to the people, if they truly want to pay attention to the problems faced by the construction of the subject itself. Attention it should certainly start from a correct understanding of the situation experienced by the majority of the nation today. “

Hopefully Nahdliyyin Center to be one of interpretation correct understanding of the condition of the country are still many poor people inhabited it. Happy reading.


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