By Stephanie Chow of Towards Transparency, the TI national contact in Vietnam.
Youth can play an important role in the fight against corruption. This is one of the findings of the Youth Integrity Survey carried out by young volunteers, students and recent graduates across 11 different provinces from major cities to small rural communities across Vietnam. More than 1,500 people were interviewed for the survey, which compares youth and adult understanding, experiences and reactions to corruption and integrity.
TI and Towards Transparency actively recognise the importance of targeting and mobilising youth in the fight against corruption in Vietnam. The survey found that youth are more vulnerable to corruption, with young people experiencing significantly more corruption across a range of sectors, including their dealings with hospitals, the police and getting a job.
The Youth Integrity Survey is just one out of a string of anti-corruption activities carried out by youth for youth in Vietnam.
In March, Towards Transparency ran a video clip competition to select six Vietnamese youth representatives to participate in the 2011 ASEAN Youth Forum in Jakarta, followed by a workshop with TI Indonesia, where Vietnamese and Indonesian youth shared their ideals and values and designed action plans to promote integrity.
This July, students from Hoa Sen University worked with Towards Transparency to hold an essay, video clip and skit competition for university and high school students in Ho Chi Minh City on What is gained and Lost from Student Integrity.
The winning video of the competition we ran for students in Ho Chi Minh City:
Yet youth in Vietnam remain conflicted over concepts of integrity and corruption. Although a remarkably high percentage of young people (82-95 per cent) state that integrity is more important than wealth and success, at the same time 38 per cent of youth divulge that they are willing to engage in corrupt practices to get into a good school or company.
Such internal tensions were again demonstrated during our recent essay, skit and video clip competition, where in ensuing discussions, a number of students admitted that they did not feel clean enough to participate.
In a country where corruption permeates the most basic and most important services that people come into contact with on a daily basis and 44 per cent of Vietnamese urban citizens report paying a bribe in the past 12 months, it clearly appears that much more needs to be done. For the youth of Vietnam, initiating open discussions and youth led anti-corruption activities are important first steps.
Photos courtesy of Towards Transparency