Story

Breaking silence with holistic and participatory policy-making

07/06/2019
Hanoi city, Viet Nam
05 - Gender Equality
Description: 

Hoàng Anh from the Youth Advisory Group

“The most important aspect of youth engagement is to support young people so that they understand and acknowledge their rights, responsibilities and develop a commitment to serve and contribute to their communities,  not only as citizens, but also as future leaders”, says Hoàng Anh, member of Viet Nam’s Youth Advisory Group (YAG), which was established in August 2018 to support the drafting of the national Youth Law.

UNESCO is proud of its association with the Youth Advisory Group that boosts youth participation in the on-going national Youth Law revision process. One of their members is twenty-year-old Hoàng Anh, a sophomore at the University of Economics in Da Nang.

Hoàng Anh is an exceptional and driven young woman. She has previously studied in Germany for 6 months, taking advantage of her exchange program to visit more than forty European cities. Her travels not only deepened her economic-related knowledge, but also helped her gain a fresh outlook on the international relations, political concerns and social affairs of these countries.

In addition to being a student and a volunteer, Hoàng Anh was selected to be a part of the YAG. Viet Nam is currently revising its National Youth Law, and the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ho Chi Minh Youth Union and concerned United Nations agencies in Viet Nam worked together to establish the YAG to improve the inclusion of youth in policy-making processes. Around thirty 15-to-30-year-old youth representatives participate in the YAG, including young people from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds including students, entrepreneurs, LGBT members, ethnic minorities and youth with disabilities.

Being a young individual in today’s society is far from easy, but, thanks to her active participation in volunteer work, Hoang Anh has had the opportunity to meet young people from different backgrounds, each with a unique story to tell.  As she herself knows the burdens of social pressure and high expectations, Hoang Anh understands the sense of helplessness and frustration of her generation – one born out of unequal levels of empowerment in today’s society. For her, participating in the YAG is a good starting point on her quest to help support social inclusion in the country – starting with better recognition of youth’s perspectives.

To support YAG members in their role, UNESCO provides a series of capacity building workshops to strengthen skills such as research, advocacy and engagement. These training introduce new tools that allowed the participants to explore the value and opportunities to be found in youth engaging in policy. “The tools support young people by giving us the skills to effectively join the policy-making process – they help us discover our potential”, says Hoàng Anh.

Hoàng Anh believes the YAG is a group of pioneers who can help create new and innovative initiatives for youth participation and empowerment. The YAG currently serves as a meaningful and innovative model for the future, and maybe even become a permanent institution. Not only does she wish that the YAG will break the silence of her generation and directly contribute to the change of the Youth Law as a legal framework to stimulate empowerment and equality, Hoàng Anh also hopes it can advocate for youth empowerment to become a top priority for the development of Vietnam.

Hoàng Anh envisions a future in which more young people will be speaking up. “Think positively. Judge all issues with an open-mind and unprejudiced attitude. Recognize and learn from opposite opinions, because many problems do not have simple solutions and are best addressed by considering many points of view. Don’t be scared to speak out and voice your opinions”, she shares.

For general enquiries:

Hai Ha Vu Thi, Consultant for Youth Programming, at hh.vu-thi@unesco.org