Located in the middle of the forest, far south of Demak District, Jragung Village is as secluded as it gets. This village is home to 9.402 people, about 17% of them poor & vulnerable youth, and is considered a poor village. Unlike other poor villages though, it does not even have its own native income source. Despite having fields that produce bananas and corns, the villagers have little to no capacity to process and turn them to products that can be sold and bring in revenue.
What they do have, though, is the spirit to move out of poverty. This enthusiasm clearly radiates from the Village Head of Jragung, Edy Susanto. Since coming into office, he had a vision to make Jragung Village a tourism village, complete with its own souvenir shops. To that end, he has mobilized the people to build roads, and used his own resources to facilitate trainings so that villagers can process corns, and advance economically. In six years, around 80% roads have been built, and in 2012, Jragung Village was awarded the best administrative village throughout Karangawen Subdistrict, Demak District. However, on the income source side of things, the people of Jragung Village, especially its poor & vulnerable youth, still needs that helping hand.
And the help came. In early 2018, SINERGI initiated a series of training activities to mainstream poor & vulnerable youth into labor market in Indonesia. Jragung Youth Group (Karang Taruna Desa Jragung) was selected as one of 16 consortia to receive an opportunity fund to build the capacity of its youth in processing corn chips as its primary commodity. Interestingly, Jragung Village was not initially considered to be the recipient of the fund, but through the commitment, support, and reference the Manpower and Industry Office, the local government institution responsible for labor affairs, Jragung got the green light.
The Coordinator of the Jragung Youth Consortia, Bagus Adi Kuncoro, was delighted to engage 22 men and 8 women, two of which have disability, in SINERGI’s inclusive training program, consisting of soft skill training, hard skill training, and managerial skill training, to equip poor and vulnerable youth in Jragung Village with skills they require to enter the labor market.
The soft skill training, a training to provide a combination of people skills, social skills, communication skills, character traits, attitudes, career attribute, social intelligence and emotional intelligence, was particularly the highlight. This was the first training of its kind for all of the participants. During the five day training, they got the dose of motivation to boost their confidence and upon completion, every participant felt reinvigorated. All participants, both the ones with and with no disability, felt empowered and enthusiastic to face their lives more positively. The local government, represented by the Manpower Office, even paid them several visits, further boosting their morale. The opening speech from Slamet Karyono, the Section Head of Training and Productivity of the Manpower Office, in which he declared the slogan of “I can, I am full of spirit, I will succeed”, set the participants on the right and positive track.
“I was impressed with the soft skill training. Being this was a first, I did not know what to expect or how the youngsters would react. But, they showed high level of energy and enthusiasm, and a heightened sense of togetherness towards each other. In the end, everyone felt empowered, and I just wished it could’ve been longer than five days”, said Bagus. “This soft skill training is important, because it is the basis of everything before jumping into a working environment”, he continued.
This spirit carried on to the hard skill training, which was the training to process corn into corn chips. At the end of it, the participants managed to process around 5 kg of corn chips and packaged them to be sold. The success of this training attracted the village government, and they are committed to hold similar trainings using the village fund allocation.
Both the Consortia Coordinator and Village Head hope that SINERGI’s support is the first step towards making Jragung greater, and its youth more financially independent.
“I sincerely hope that SINERGI can become the catalyst for the economic independence of Jragung’s youths”, declared Edy, Jragung Village Head.
Knowledge Management Specialist - SINERGI
November 6, 2018