Grassroot Democracy - Village conventions

Bo Liem hamlet before 1988 was just a manufacturing group which belonged to Bo Bau hamlet, Bao La Commune, Mau Chau district, Hoa Binh province. Bo Bau hamlet at the time had 56 families and was divided into Bo Liem hamlet of Tan Son Commune. Currently, this hamlet has 86 families and 328 people living within. There are 4 ethnic minority groups namely Thai, Muong, Dao, Kinh living together in the hamlet and they form 2 manufacturing groups (separated by features of the resident groups). Livihoods of people here are dependent on agriculture and forestry. People often support each other in doing the field work or public work in the hamlet like: wedding, funeral, …


In order to develop the above traditions, people in the hamlet agree to create a hamlet convention. The main aim of the convention is to encourage “people to build cultural lifves of residential areas together” and promote security, manufacturing, development and stability of people in the hamlet.

The convention is a document that consists of regulations on the standard behaviors in public that are accepted and agreed by all residents. This convention supports the residents in building a governmental-law-complying hamlet. Preserving and developing habits and customs of homeland contributes positively to the management by laws of the government. Apart from preserving habits and customs, the hamlet residents are now trying to improve manufacturing methods, gradually eradicate poverty and transform the current hamlet into cultural hamlet.

The convention of Bo Liem hamlet consists of 36 articles, 6 chapters and different sectors ranging from culture, manufacturing, preservation of natural resources, preservation of cultural traditions, education, healthcare, security and so on. Based on different research, ethnic minority characteristics should be preserved and developed because they are the foundations of each person, each family about nature, community, hamlet and behavior threshold. Unwritten laws and commitments are based on faith so they have a much more firm foundation than regulations or decisions of local government.

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CSDM Staff meet with people about building village conventions.

In order to satisfy and develop that demand, the grass-root democracy has been integrated to support the village to build conventions and regulations based on conventions of the hamlet and it is the unwritten law of the hamlet. This convention is built based on the foundation of customs and habits and social traditions of the residents. This is the basis of the inheritance and improvement of practical capability and reality application. The convention also includes the indigenous knowledge, specifically the knowledge related to forest protection, improvement of solidarity, preservation of traditional cultures, build current values about grass-root democracy among many others. One of the most significant conditions for the success of sustainable development is based on indigenous knowledge and the adequate participation of ethnic minority residents – cultural subjects. Development of the hamlet should be directed properly and based on the foundation of the community.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       (Source: CSDM)