Background to Village Law

In 2014, Indonesia embarked on an ambitious agenda to devolve some authority for local development to village authorities through the Village Law, with budgets directly channelled to nearly 75,000 villages across the archipelago to implement local-level initiatives. Significant authority for decision making and associated budgets had already been devolved to district governments in 1999 (and some more limited authority devolved to provinces) through the regional autonomy Laws. [1]

Under the 1999 laws, villages were established as autonomous units of government, located within districts. Under other democratisation reforms, direct popular elections of the executive, from the President to Governors, District Heads, and Village Heads were also introduced.

With these decentralisation and democratisation reforms, villagers quickly became accustomed to their new-found authority as desa (villages)[2] with their own elected Village Head (and government made up of administrative officials) and Village Representative Council (BPD).

The introduction of the 2014 Village Law might be considered the third arm of decentralisation in the ways it has bolstered decentralised decision making across the archipelago and has recognised diverse forms of governance at the village level. The Law has sought to clarify the status of villages within Indonesia’s governance structure but also to further codify participatory community decision making in determining village development priorities. The Law recognises village and customary diversity across the archipelago and emphasises the goal of poverty reduction in village development, to be implemented in ways that are gender-equitable and based on democratic decision making. With a designated annual budget of some USD75,000—in many cases more in more highly populated, geographically vast, or poorer localities—villages can respond to village-specific needs and customise and implement initiatives to tackle the challenges they face.

In 2014, a new Ministry of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions Development, and Transmigration (Kemendes, herein the Ministry of Villages) was established to oversee the significant policy change and institutional changes introduced by the 2014 Law, together with the Ministry of Home Affairs that has long had authority for decentralisation.

Gender inclusion and collective action

Meanwhile, over the past two decades of reform, Indonesian women, Indonesia’s women’s movement and many of Indonesia’s civil society organisations (CSOs)—including mass women’s organisations—concerned with gender inclusion have made significant inroads to improve gender equity through advocacy for new or revised legislation, policies and programs. Government agencies too, often but not always as a result of such advocacy, have, in a number of sectors and cross-cutting initiatives, introduced or revised legislation and regulations centrally and regionally to create policy frameworks that better accommodate women’s needs, strengthen their rights and endeavour to ensure women are involved in decision making—the gender quotas in Indonesia’s electoral system are one example. Programs have been introduced under such policy frameworks to target broad improvements in social protection such as health, education, employment and in alleviating poverty, which have important implications for women.

While notable achievements have been made over the past two decades—for example, Indonesia has achieved ‘medium equality’ between men and women according to the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) 2018 rankings—such improvements have been incremental and uneven, particularly in rural areas. Structural inequalities remain. Each region in Indonesia also has its own development needs and challenges, particularly given the diversity of geography, infrastructure, service needs, population densities, levels of poverty, and socio-cultural norms, especially around gender roles, with patriarchal attitudes and behaviours that are especially acute in some regions making it more difficult to reduce barriers to gender inclusion.

As the burden of poverty often disproportionately falls on the shoulders of the women in Indonesia’s poorest families, many programs—introduced or delivered by government, CSOs, mass organisations, or other agencies—target women as the first line of defence in poverty reduction. Indeed, tackling poverty, improving protections and the recognition of rights as well as access to services is an ongoing agenda for large-scale development programs, cross-regional women’s organisations and networks, and thousands of smaller organisations found in many of Indonesia’s districts. While such programs may have incrementally improved the position of women, or women may have gained new skills and access to services, these may, but do not necessarily address the underlying structural impediments to wider gender inclusion in decision making.

Thus, many in Indonesia’s women’s movement, both individuals and organisations, have also had the broader goal of changing social and political structures to be more inclusive of women. This has been to ensure that women are involved in the structures of power that set agendas, create or influence legislation, policies and programs, and shape socio-cultural norms, which ultimately have implications for women’s wellbeing. As a vast, diverse archipelago, such political and social structures exist in multiple domains and at multiple levels, from villages to districts to provinces and nationally.

Within Indonesia’s multi-level governance framework, the changes introduced under the Village Law have provided a significant opportunity for women to increasingly influence village governance and development decisions. This research investigates how women’s collective action has influenced governance and decision making, development initiatives, and broader structures of power in Indonesia’s in rural districts and villages, with a particular focus on the implementation of the Village Law. While we predominantly focus on the implementation of the 2014 Law in villages, we also situate this within district dynamics, given Indonesia’s multi-level governance structures.

We explore two dimensions of such collective action and the interactions between them. We focus on grassroots women’s collective action in rural Indonesia—the actions taken by village women to improve their wellbeing in general, but also to exercise power and voice to influence decisions which affect them, particularly in relation to village development and decision making. We also investigate broader CSO advocacy and support provided to rural village women through grassroots groups to improve gender inclusion and empower women. The targeted strategies and adaptive actions undertaken by these organisations also constitute a more structured organisational form of women’s collective action in Indonesia’s localities. In exploring these two dimensions, and the interactions between them, we seek to understand the ways women’s collective action has influenced village and district environments, and ultimately Village Law implementation.

Research questions and methodology

To fill distinct gaps in existing studies identified further in Section 2, this study aims to answer the overarching research questions: in what contexts, to what extent and through what mechanisms has local collective action by women influenced the implementation of the Village Law, and what is the role for CSOs in this process? Answering these questions includes analysis of:

  • The ways village women have sought to exercise voice and take action (and changes over time) through collectivities, groups and networks among themselves and with others, and their experiences of change over time,
  • The role of and strategies used by CSOs in supporting these women, and undertaking inter-related advocacy at village and district levels,
  • How these dynamics have varied in different contexts, including constraints and opportunities, and
  • Ultimately, the pathways (varied) by which such action have influenced the implementation of the Village Law.

The study uses multi-level comparative case analysis drawing from extensive qualitative data collected for this study involving more than 600 people, especially more vulnerable rural women. We support this mixed-methods qualitative research with additional analysis of quantitative monitoring data from 27 provinces. Through analysis of in-depth and life history interviews with more than 450 people, more than thirty focus group discussions with another 150 people, process tracing of changes over time in villages and districts (case studies of village Stories of Change), village social network analysis, village and district context analysis, and CSO organisational analysis, we identify the pathways through which women have sought to exercise voice, take action to influence the implementation of the Village Law. We also reflect on if and how CSO support has bolstered women’s empowerment in different contexts.

From Sumatra to Java, to Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and East and West Nusa Tenggara, data was collected throughout 2019 in nine provinces and 12 districts where there are different livelihood options, levels of poverty, geography and infrastructure, services and programs, resource endowments, population densities, religious affiliations and social and customary norms. Given the study has a specific focus on village-level dynamics, we not only conducted district (and some provincial) research, but also extensive research through long stays in 14 villages; one in each of these districts where CSOs have introduced or strengthened support for village women, and in two villages where there were no known CSO interventions (one on Java and one off Java).

This research was supported by the Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (MAMPU) program, although the analysis presented is that of the authors. As a collaboration between the Indonesian and Australian Governments, the MAMPU program aimed to support women’s empowerment and improve gender equality in Indonesia in partnership with Indonesian women’s organisations. Through its partnership approach, MAMPU supported 13 large national or regional women’s organisations and consortium networks that focus on different sectoral issues of concern for women while seeking to support village women and strengthen women’s skills, capacity and opportunities to exercise voice and influence in Indonesian society. Many of these large-scale national organisations and consortiums have provincial and district organisational CSO partners as well. By the end of 2019, MAMPU had directly and indirectly supported 122 partners at national and subnational levels in 147 districts and municipalities and 1,137 villages across 27 of Indonesia’s 34 provinces.

To undertake this study and to initially connect with village women, nine of MAMPU’s 13 national partners and a further six subnational partners of these organisations collaborated with the researchers, supporting and providing iterative feedback on the design and analysis, and facilitating (one channel among several) access to research sites. Each of the 15 CSO and mass women’s organisations included in the study (herein collectively referred to as CSOs) are outlined in Section 2 (in the sampling frame) and more information on the scope and scale of their work beyond the research sites is outlined in Annex 3.

The targeted support for women and advocacy undertaken by those CSOs involved in the study has focused on five key issues for women—social protection, reproductive health and nutrition, protection for migrant workers, better work conditions and reduced discrimination against women in the informal sector (in particular for homeworkers) and reducing violence against women, in particular domestic violence. These issues were also the five focus areas of the MAMPU program. This study also captures Village Law implementation dynamics in relation to all of these five focus issues through research in 12 ‘intervention’ districts/villages. For comparison, we also investigate the dynamics of gender inclusion and women’s possible influence on the implementation of the Village Law in the two ‘control’ sites, one village in the Pangkajene and Islands District (South Sulawesi Province, Sulawesi Island) and a second village in Gresik District (East Java Province, Java Island). As mentioned, there were no known interventions or support for village women undertaken by CSOs in these two places. Research from these ‘control’ sites is used for comparative analysis with ‘intervention sites’ to better highlight if dynamics varied in terms of:

  • Grassroots expressions of agency and collective action,
  • If, and which dimensions of CSO support for village women may have facilitated or bolstered women’s agency, collective action and influence on the implementation of the Village Law and wider gender inclusion, and by which pathways, and
  • Which dimensions of change might be more endogenous to the processes underway in Indonesian villages with the implementation of the Village Law.

While the CSOs involved in the study are many and varied (as are all of MAMPU’s other partners), they have one aspect of their approach in common—working with and through grassroots groups alongside broader advocacy. These organisations have supported village women to establish new groups (often but not always exclusively for women) or they have supported and collaborated with existing village women’s groups and organisations in villages, with aim of supporting village women take a more socially transformative role through collective action. In many cases these organisations also undertake advocacy and other structured forms of collective action to reduce the impediments to women’s influence with the broader structures of power, both within and outside Indonesia’s formal systems of governance.

Given that the research draws from a sample of sites where MAMPU CSO Partners have sought to support village women by working with and through grassroots groups, the study thus captures dynamics pertaining to this particular type of CSO intervention focused on gender inclusion. Although, it also captures many wider experiences of collective action over time in an extensive array of regions in Indonesia beyond this intervention. Even so, other CSOs, organisations, agencies and programs may use a different approach, which may have implications for women’s collective action and influence on governance and structures of power that are not explored here.

Nonetheless, the findings remain helpful for a range of audiences in understanding how grassroots women’s collective action might be supported by group structures of different kinds that involve women, and how, or via what mechanisms, external actors (not just CSOs) might help bolster women’s influence in villages and beyond. That is, even if not working with or through CSOs as partners in initiatives to bolster gender-inclusion and women’s influence in governance and other power structures, some of the features of the ways CSOs have supported women in the research sites to facilitate or augment their agency certainly constitute important learning for other settings, actors and agencies concerned with gender-inclusive governance, structures of power, and socio-economic development.

Focus: The experiences of some of Indonesia’s most vulnerable rural women

It is important to note that many of those MAMPU partner organisations that work in rural areas have endeavoured to access and support some of the most vulnerable women in Indonesia, who are often the poorest of the poor in villages that themselves tend to have high aggregate levels of poverty. This includes female-headed families, survivors of domestic and other forms of gender-based violence, or homeworkers with precarious livelihoods and often below-subsistence incomes, among others. Thus, in collaborating with such organisations for the research, the study has tended to capture in ethnographic detail the voices and experiences of more vulnerable rural village women who have often experienced multiple-dimensions of poverty, and how they take action to influence development and decision making. These are the women that often fall through the cracks of poverty alleviation and social protection programs, tend to have lower formal education levels, and may be significantly socio-economically, politically or even geographically isolated.

The study also captures the experiences of other women in the rural research sites, some of whom may still experience significant challenges but do not (or no longer) have the same heightened degree of vulnerability. However, there may be further pathways for collective action (with and without external support) in other places and for other people than are captured here. The findings, nonetheless, are helpful for other agencies, programs, and facilitator networks, among others, in understanding pathways and mechanisms that might bolster women’s collective action and gender inclusion, particularly for vulnerable women in Indonesia’s rural localities.

Building blocks: Understanding pathways

Each section in the report overviews the research results and contributes to building a framework for understanding how women’s collective action has influenced the implementation of the Village Law and variation in outcomes (Figure 1). The framework was developed through iterative analysis of multiple sets of research data and comparative case analysis and can be used to explore a larger sample of villages in other research and possibly using quantitative instruments at scale.

In the analysis we first establish the key features of context that have constrained or enhanced women’s collective action and influence on the Village Law (Section 3). This is followed by an overview of the key Village Law impacts identified in the study and women’s general perceptions and experiences over time of increasingly expressing their voice and undertaking efforts to influence village governance and decision making (Section 4). We then identify the main forms and patterns of women’s grassroots collective action and the underlying drivers that have bolstered women’s influence in the research villages (Section 5). In the discussion in Section 6 we also explore if and how MAMPU CSO Partners have contributed to grassroots collective action through support for women via village groups, particularly in terms of support for strengthening different forms of social capital and women’s individual and collective agency to take action. In Section 6 we also unpack the different structures and models of support provided by CSOs that have informed their on-the-ground activities and variation in ways they have supported women in villages across the research sites, including the advantages and trade-offs of different aspects of these models of support.

We then continue our discussion of pathways to analyse both the planned and unplanned strategies MAMPU Partners have used to reduce barriers to gender inclusion and to support women’s empowerment in Indonesia’s rural localities, with a particular focus on the ways they have navigated different constraints and opportunities in the varied contexts where they have sought to drive women’s collective action and influence (Section 7). This includes the important dimensions of their work with government and non-government actors in villages and districts to help facilitate women’s empowerment and their involvement in policy and other decision-making processes. The research focuses on both the dynamics in villages and the broader district environment in each case that have affected village dynamics.

The final step seeks to bring together the comparative analysis of impacts and pathways to establish patterns of the ways women have been able to influence village governance and power structures, and the implementation of the Village Law (Section 8). We first revisit the question of the role of CSOs in supporting village women, focusing on how and to what extent they have more broadly contributed to gender inclusion and women’s empowerment, collective action and influence. Through comparative analysis, we then seek to establish district and village context dynamics have both affected and interacted with women’s collective action and the strategies undertaken by MAMPU Partners, and if and how this has had influence on the implementation of the Village Law.

Figure 1: Framework for Analysis

The Village Law Features, Regulations and Oversight 


The design, ratification and implementation of the 2014 Village Law was not a simple process and has been influenced by a range of factors both within and outside of government. The content of the Law was significantly shaped by civil society activist interventions. For example, in 2006, members of the organisation Parade Nusantara convened a discussion forum in Semarang, which included proposing improvements for village governance and government officials to members of Indonesia’s national parliament (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, DPR) (Vel et al., 2017). During the same period (2006 – July 2007), the Ministry of Home Affairs conducted research on village governance reform in collaboration with CSOs and international development organisations. In 2010, efforts to advance the drafting of the Village Law led by newly-elected member of the national parliament, Budiman Sudjatmitko, saw it included as a priority in on national legislative agenda (Prolegnas). In December 2013, the national parliament passed the legislation, which was then ratified by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in January 2014 (Vel et al., 2017). 

Ministerial authority and oversight 

Following the ratification of the 2014 Law, three ministries—the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, and the newly-created Ministry of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions Development and Transmigration (herein the Ministry of Villages)—each issued regulations regarding the implementation of the Village Law, including the accompanying budgets, which some argued overlapped and had contradictory stipulations (Vel et al., 2017, 465) or slowed the 2014 Law’s implementation (Antlov et al., 2017, 180). A key provision was the creation of a ‘Village Fund’ (Dana Desa), to which the national government contributes 10% of regional transfer funds. Villages also receive district funding through the village budget allocation (ADD) to the amount of at least 10% of the national transfers to districts (Law No. 6, 2014) (Antlov et al., 2017, 174). These funds are to be transferred annually to Indonesia’s 75,000 villages to be used in accordance with locally-determined priorities. Vel et al. (2017) contend that the key issues requiring clarification across the regulations of the day were: how funds would be managed and distributed between levels of government; the management of village-owned enterprises; the use of the Village Fund; and accountability measures.

Consequently, in a January 2015 cabinet meeting, President Joko Widodo instructed that the implementation of the 2014 Village Law and village governance would be divided between the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Villages. Thereafter, administrative matters relating to oversight of civil service employment, that being oversight of village officials receiving civil servant salaries—such as the Village Head and village administration, and the management of Village Consultative Council (Badan Permusyarawatan Desa, BPD members)—would continue to be performed by the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Directorate General for Improving Village Governance (Bina Pemerintahan Desa). The newly-created Ministry for Villages was charged with coordinating, supervising, and empowering village development programs, including through the BPD, under a new directorate general. The division of responsibilities was formalised by Government Regulation No. 47/2015 and the deletion of Clause 14 of Article 1 of Government Regulation No. 43/ 2014, which had previously defined ‘minister’ as ‘the minister who handles villages’ so as to not specify either ministry. 

District authority: There continues to be ongoing debate about the extent to which districts have oversight authority for villages. The Ministry of Home Affairs has conceptualised villages as a part of government organisational structures and hierarchies, while at the same time being considered autonomous. The Ministry of Villages envisages the village as an autonomous government unit, not under the authority of districts (Syukri et al., 2017, 14-15). Whereas Ministry of Home Affairs Regulation No. 84/2015, for instance, re-emphasises the role of district and central government supervision of village budget and development plans. These interpretations inform ongoing legal challenges to the division of authority to implement village development plans and for villages to decide to discontinue existing programs or fund new initiatives (World Bank, 2017, 3). 

Meanwhile, districts continue to conceptualise villages as existing below subdistricts in a government hierarchy and chain of responsibility. Districts tend to take this view as, under the Village Law, they are obliged to contribute 10 percent of their own produced revenues, revenue sharing grants and transfers to village budgets (Lewis, 2015a; Lewis, 2015b). As well as undertaking the supervisory role stipulated by the Village Law, it is within the interests of districts to retain control of, or influence service provision at the village level, particularly to fulfil their key performance indicators under decentralisation, which is a major portfolio administered by the Ministry of Home Affairs (Lewis 2015a, 350). Further, in February 2019, Government Regulation No. 11/ 2019, sought to improve the quality of village services and governance, including secretaries and other public servants. Accordingly, the wages of Village Heads, Village Secretaries and other officials would be set by the District Head or Mayor (Bupati/Wali Kota). 

Village-level decision making, rights of participation and village support 

Notably, there continues to be some differences in how each Ministry seeks to implement the 2014 Law, especially in relation to who convenes village decision-making meetings and who can participate in these meetings. 

Convening village meetings: The Ministry of Home Affairs Regulation No. 114/2015 states that there are two types of village consultative and deliberation meetings—MusDes convened by the BPD and a Village Development Planning Consultative Meeting (Musrenbangdes) held by the Village Head. In contrast, Ministry of Villages Regulation No. 2/2015 released that same year, specifies that all village meetings should be convened and organised by the BPD. 

Meeting participants: According to Ministry of Home Affairs Regulation No. 114/2015, community participation in village consultative meetings is only permitted if an individual has received official invitation from the BPD and if the individual has registered with the Council. This regulation also stipulates that registered participants/voters have the right to participate in the formulation of village budgets and development plans. Meanwhile, Ministry of Villages Regulation No. 2/2015 stipulates all villagers have the right to attend these ‘open and not secretive’ events by registering with the head of the BPD seven days prior to a MusDes (Article 23). While also maintaining the importance of being invited, invitees, according to (Paragraph 7, Article 20), are ‘they who are not village residents who attend the village consultative meeting upon the invitation of the head of the BPD’. Moreover, villagers who attend but have not registered prior to the meeting retain their right to attend the MusDes, however cannot cast votes. Therefore, on the one hand, Ministry of Home Affairs regulation requires individuals to receive an invitation to attend MusDes whilst, on the other, Ministry of Villages regulation requires registration in order to attend and cast votes but not an invitation to attend. These overlapping regulations reflect differing conceptualisations of authority that have been reported to cause confusion in villages (Syukri et al., 2018, 29). 

Support for villages: In order to implement their empowerment and village capacity-building portfolio, in its division of responsibilities with Home Affairs, the Ministry of Villages has prioritised the employment of village assistants (pendamping desa). These assistants function under the Ministry of Villages and work to empower villagers and village governments to form and implement their development plans and to increase employment and investment opportunities in a village. The role of these assistants was initially defined by the Village Law as also having the right to attend village consultative forums. Under subsequent regulations and policies issued by the Ministry of Villages, they represent the link between central government and the community, facilitate village meetings and participative development, and increase social solidarity. By the end of 2016, 27,441 village assistants had been recruited (Zakaria & Vel 2017). This number has rapidly increased. According to the 2018 national Village Potential Statistics report, 66,128 people were classified as ‘active’ and ‘available’ village assistants (BPS-Statistics Indonesia 2018, 165). The Ministry of Villages reports there to be approximately 75,000 village assistants currently working. However, in many field sites it was evident that the focus of these assistants has been to provide administrative support to the village government, and their empowerment function of providing support to communities was less evident. 

Learning from implementation lessons over time, two important new regulations were issued by the Ministry of Villages about the implementation of the Village Law in late 2019. These regulations were introduced subsequent to the data collection for this study and, as such, this study forms a mid-point investigation into the ways civil society to date has influenced the implementation of the Village Law, but also forms a baseline for future studies that investigate how these regulations have addressed earlier critiques of the implementation of the Village Law, particularly in relation to attention to gender inclusion and women’s influence on village development under the new Law. 

First, in September, the Ministry of Villages specified the use of the 2020 Village Fund allocation through Regulation No. 11/2019. This regulation significantly emphasised the provision of social services to village communities (often a priority for women), defined as the procurement, construction, and development of facilities and infrastructure to meet residential, transportation, energy, communication, information and other social needs (Article 8). Accordingly, Village Fund use should prioritise programs and activities which ‘must give the greatest possible benefit to the village community.’ Particular priorities include: the creation of ongoing employment, increasing livelihood options for poor families (Article 6.2); updating data collection on poverty, providing capital and training to the unemployed, and the prevention of stunting and malnutrition (Article 6.3); and home industry and small-scale agriculture. In terms of implementation, the regulation also states that Village Fund spending priorities will be decided in a participative and self-managed way through the formulation of the Village Government Work Plan (Rencana Kerja Pemerintah Desa, RKPDesa) in an annual MusDes (Article 14). The outcome of village consultative meetings must be published by the village government in a publicly accessible space, provisions reflected in the draft guidelines outlined in Box 37. 

Second, in October, in Regulation No. 17/2019 the Ministry of Villages issued general directives on village community development and empowerment. Importantly, for civil society participation in village planning, the Regulation also clarifies who are unsur masyarakat, or ‘village community elements’ and their role. Article 9 states that these unsur masyarakat individuals and groups participate in all stages of village development planning, express suggestions and opinions, organise for individual and collective interests, support development activities, and develop community values. Notably, in the second section concerning Village Medium-Term Development Plans, the regulation specifies that ‘community elements’ include: women’s organisations and groups, forums for the protection and care of children, health cadres, representatives of special needs and the disabled, representatives of poor communities, farmers and fishing groups, craft groups, young people and student groups, environmental activists, and other social organisations (Article 13). These groups, including women’s groups, are also identified as the actors who implement village empowerment programs and activities (Article 75), including education, and undertake village participation, resilience and cooperation strengthening, upholding of rights, and policy advocacy (Article 76). Box 37 outlines the draft guidelines for integrating gender concerns to village development planning and implementation. 

Box 37: The 2019 Draft Guidelines for Village Gender Integration at the Village-Level in Village Medium-Term Development Plans, Work Plans and Budgets 

These draft guidelines have been formulated by Misbah Hasan from the Ministry of Villages as a guide for village governments. Divided into steps and template documents, it is envisaged these guidelines will assist village governments in better gender-responsive planning (understood as processes and outcomes which ‘considers aspirations, needs, and problems which are different between men and women’); and, gender-responsive budgeting, in which village resources are allocated to ‘increase gender equality, women’s empowerment, the protection of children, and fulfilling the needs of persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.’ 

Reflecting this study’s focus on relationships between districts and villages, these guidelines specify how to align village and district gender inclusive and responsive policy priorities, particularly how village programs should implement district policies. For instance, the guidelines suggest that villages should record data about poor female-headed families, the elderly, and people with disabilities, to better ensure the implementation of social protection programs (such as Conditional Cash Transfers Programs – Program Keluarga Harapan, and rice welfare – Beras Kesejahteraan). The main mechanism outlined in these guidelines is a step-by-step guide for creating a report on village social and economic conditions, which includes conducting two types of consultative forums (musyawarah), one hamlet-level forum and one with groups based on employment, gender, age, and disability. 

[1] Law No. 22/1999 and Law No. 25/1999, which were later revised through Law No. 32/2004 and Law No. 23/2014 on Local Government. In the 2014 Local Government Law, some of the authority of districts, particularly in relation to policies and smaller-scale licences in the resource sectors was wound back and shifted to provincial governments.
[2] Under the 1999 Law, villages were designated to be autonomous units acknowledged in the national governance system (as compared with their previous status as the smallest administrative unit within the government hierarchy) with the authority to govern and administer local communities based on their origins and local customs. This opened up the space for villages to take a form more aligned with their customs and traditions.