Batangtoru, 7 March 2022 – PT Agincourt Resources (PTAR), the operator of Martabe Gold Mine, is developing access to Information Technology (IT) advancements indirectly affected villages surrounding the mine through Village Digitalization Program. In 2022, the program includes mentoring and coaching to bolster the capacity of village officials in four pilot villages where village websites have been built, development of new websites for two villages, Aek Pining and Sumuran Village, including enhancing operational techniques, maintenance, and village journalism and reporting training.
This year is the second year of implementing the Village Digitalization program. In the first phase of 2021, this program has succeeded in conducting training and developing village websites in 4 directly affected villages (DAV), namely: Napa, Telo, Batuhula and Muara Hutaraja villages.
PTAR General Manager Operations, Rahmat Lubis, stated that digitalization is the key to accelerating village development. The Village Digitalization Program is one of the priority programs in the form of a village development concept that is more focused on improving the capacity and quality of village government by utilizing technology and information. “This program is expected to make it easier for the community to receive excellent services from the government,” said Rahmat.
Rahmat added that Village Digitalization Program is in line with PTAR’s commitment and spirit in developing villages around Martabe Gold Mine to accelerate development and reach self-reliance (Self Reliant Villages).
“This is the demand of the times, the demand of development, as well as the demand of the situation to continue moving forward towards the digital era,” said Rahmat. Especially during this Covid-19 pandemic, digitalization of the economy can help market various potentials and products produced by villages more easily. Currently, digitalization is a necessity, including for rural communities. Through the second year of the Village Digitalization Program, PTAR has also strengthened collaboration with Village Assistance Consultants, Village Community Empowerment Agency (PMD) and Communication and Information Agency (KOMINFO) of South Tapanuli Regency.
PTAR Community Relations Senior Manager, Christine Pepah explained that the implementation of the first phase of the Village Digitalization Program in the four pilot villages had been carried out on 14-25 September 2021 and was continued with assistance by the Village Assistance team which has shown satisfactory results. “With the implementation of digital Village Information System training for village officials in the 4 pilot villages, now the village websites in the four villages have operated well and are updated regularly, and there have been more than 30 thousand website visitors as of early March 2022,” said Christine. In addition, Christine continued, as many as eight village officials from the four PTAR assisted villages have participated in five-day internships in Yogyakarta. “This internship program includes comparative studies in several digital villages in Yogyakarta to learn and share knowledge directly,” said Christine, adding that the Village Digitalization Program was also supported, given input, and evaluated by the Village Community Empowerment Agency of South Tapanuli Regency.
“The second phase of the Village Digitalization Program in 2022 begins with a Resident Journalism and Photography Training for 27 participants from six villages and Perkumpulan Sahabat Cerdas (Persada) organization and PTAR Community department staff,” said Christine. Meanwhile, the Village Assistance Consultants continue to provide technical services to village operators so that they can be independent in operating village websites. These village websites contain applications needed for the smooth running of information services and as a marketplace where micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the villages can promote their business products. The website of the 6 villages is integrated into www.batangtoru.id access.
PTAR Corporate Communications Senior Manager Katarina Siburian Hardono stated the Village Digitalization Program is a strategic step in improving public services and administering village government quickly and precisely as well as developing the potential of villages through the utilization of information technology. “Through this program, it is hoped that villages around Martabe Gold Mine can implement digital system development and encourage villages to be more self-reliant and empowered,” said Katarina.
The Sub-District Head of Aek Pining, Hendra Sakti Siregar, stated that the Aek Pining Sub-District Government has greatly benefited from this program, including being able to save and update information and data related to population digitally that is easily accessible by everyone anywhere. According to him, the application or self-service platform on this website will make it easier for residents to make documents without the need to be present at the sub-district office. “Another immediately useful thing is the marketplace application, where MSMEs in our sub-district can promote products and receive orders. I even received the information that South Tapanuli batik products have already received customers from Semarang, through online orders,” said Hendra. According to him, the Sub-District is committed to periodically updating all data and information. The same matter was conveyed by the Sub-District Head of Batangtoru, Mara Tinggi Siregar. Mara expressed his gratitude to PTAR for facilitating training and mentoring of villages around Martabe Gold Mine towards digital villages, and will become a pilot project for other villages in South Tapanuli Regency. From the training that has been carried out in four villages, all village activities and potentials ranging from culture, government systems, community pluralism, tourism and even MSMEs can be uploaded to the application so that it is easy to know their progress via the internet.
Mara continued, all villages/sub-districts in Batangtoru District became the first digital villages in South Tapanuli Regency. “This is also a challenge for us in the District Government, our villages are already moving towards digital villages. Of course, we must also be enthusiastic about making Batangtoru District the first district in South Tapanuli Regency that is digital-based, to maximize services to the community,” he concluded.
Photo 1: Masdar Muda, Community Relations Manager of PTAR is giving a speech at a journalism and photography training activity as part of the Village Digitalization program.
Photo 2: Residents from 6 villages are participating in a training activity initiated by PTAR as part of the Village Digitalization program.