Philosophical Thoughts

“If it has a green square on it, there is DELGOSEA in it”. This could become one of the eternal truths about democratic local governance in Southeast Asia. When you see a green square, there is the high possibility that it has something to do with DELGOSEA. And if you “follow the green square”, you will find information about best practice replication, democratic local governance in Southeast Asia and the DELGOSEA project as such. But what does the green square stand for?

To be honest, we did not know it ourselves. When we developed the green square as a logo to put on all our publications, the website and other items, we were just using it for design purposes, like a brand icon. Also, it would have not made much sense to come up with some shallow explanation of what the green square stands for, because we regarded is something that has to evolve. The further DELGOSEA progressed, the more it became clear to everyone what DELGOSEA is all about. Now we are at the point where we will be able to answer the question: “What does the green square stand for?”

A crucial point is: DELGOSEA is all about the people, and people’s participation. So we asked our Facebook group, what our partners, coaches and staff think the green square might stand for. These are some of the comments:

I think it’s on good local governance, since we usually relate a person or a deal as a square deal which means a win-win deal or fair deal, good deal....etc. good local governance would mean best practice transparency, which of course include people participation.

Green color stands for something fresh and clean so if good local governance is practiced then color green would stand for a fair, clean and transparent bureaucracy or government!

How about four sides of the square stands for the four thematic areas of DELGOSEA project? Fiscal Management, Institutional Governance, People's Participation, and Urban Environment.

Green is the color which stands for hope. We hope to implement better democratic local governance in Southeast Asia. And the four sides of the square could represent our four thematic areas?


Those comments gave us a great framework to start some digging ourselves. We asked ourselves: What are the symbolic meanings of a square and the color green? Here is what we found:

Like the cross, the square symbolizes our desire to find our way in a confusing world by providing us with directions.

A body of troops formed in a square, esp. one formed to resist a charge of cavalry; a squadron

The relation of harmony, or exact agreement; equality; level.

Rendering equal justice; exact; fair; honest, as square dealing.

To adjust; to regulate; to mold; to shape; to fit; as, to square our actions by the opinions of others.

A few keywords on square symbol meaning include: Grounding, Stabilizing, Structure, Foundation, Basics, Community, Elemental, Balance, Pragmatic, Direction, Dependability, Integrity.

The color green stands for hope, life, prosperity, harmony, environment, abundance, renewal, balance amongst other things.


Putting the meanings of both attributes – green and square – together, you can deduct that it is all about a balanced and structured progress, a straight way towards a greater good. This already sounds like the core of DELGOSEA - all involved stakeholders are working together towards a greater good: democratic local governance in Southeast Asia. Having done a solid research on best practices, trained the right people to implement the projects in the pilot cities, and having provided the methodology of how to do it – that all seems like a very structured and straight approach.

DELGOSEA is now at the stage, where the successful scheme of best practice replication will be advocated towards the national and regional levels. This process represents another part of the green square symbolism: DELGOSEA has laid out the foundation, now the project will continue to develop in the right direction, to increase prosperity and harmony and ultimately lead to a better life for the people.

A green square is a perfect representation for DELGOSEA: a structured foundation supporting a straight approach towards a better life for the people through democratic local governance.