Evaluation of Grassroots Democracy in the Chia Se Districts of Quang Tri
The ‘Chia Se’ programme consisted of four components - three provincial projects in Ha Giang, Yen Bai, and Quang Tri provinces and a national one, which together supported poverty alleviation and poverty-focused national policy making. In each province, two districts participated. Besides its focus on poverty alleviation, Chia Se also supported decentralisation under the Vietnamese Government's ‘Comprehensive Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy’ and the 5-Year Development Plan, ensuring that vulnerable and disadvantaged groups can participate fully in Vietnams rapidly reforming and developing society. Chia Se supports this by making poverty alleviation a bottom-up and demand-driven process. A core programme concept is the discretional management of local development funds by villages, empowering them to pursue their own development priorities and make articulate demands on needs and expectations for general public service delivery.
Vietnam is in a piloting process of realizing a bottom-up, resource-integrated and participatory SEDP planning at commune level. One of the important means for the success of this new planning methodology is a proper implementation of the Grassroots Democracy Decree. At the same time, grassroots democracy is also a means for implementing successfully the decree of Community-based monitoring on public investment issued according to the decision number 80/2005/QD on April 18th, 2005 by the Prime Minister, and the joint circular No. 04/2006/TTLT on December 4th, 2006 by Ministry of Planning and Investment, Vietnam Fatherland Front and Ministry of Finance.
After 4 years of Chia Se in Quang Tri Province, the Project showed considerable achievements in poverty reduction and living standards improvement of inhabitants in project areas. Many useful lessons drawn from Chia Se have contributed to improve provincial poverty reduction policies. By 2008, Chia Se in Quang Tri supported all 42 communes and townlets in the two districts of Gio Linh and Vinh Linh in participatory socio-economic development planning. Chia Se also cooperates with the provincial Fatherland Front in promoting the support for implementing the Community-based monitoring on public investment in 21 communes and townlets of Chia Se.
To encourage governmental systems in good implementation of the Grassroots Democracy Decree and promoting a decentralized approach in socio-economic development planning, it is necessary to investigate how the Grassroots Democracy Decree has been implemented at village and commune levels so far, and draw lessons for providing feedback to the governmental systems. The aim of the survey was to find out what kind of obstacles have been met in the implementation and identify feasible solutions to be proposed to the Provincial Government. Impacts of a good implementation will contribute to the success of a new SEDP planning methodology and the implementation of Community-based monitoring on public investment.