Social Accountability and Empowered Citizens
Oxfam’s good governance programme is focused on ensuring that all citizens, in particular those who are marginalised in society, such as ethnic minorities and poor men and women, have increased access to information and feel confident about raising their voices. We work to ensure that citizens have greater opportunities to influence decisions that shape their lives and are able to hold the government accountable.
The legal framework in Vietnam supports the realisation of people’s rights to association and right of access to information and freedom of expression. However, in practice there is a lack of effective accountability mechanisms and independent representative bodies. As a result, there are limited opportunities for citizens to raise their voices, involve in decision-making processes, and monitor government policies and programmes.
What we want to achieve
Oxfam’s good governance programme seeks to achieve three objectives:
- Building the capacity of multi-stakeholder coalitions engaged in advocacy on issues of public concern, so that these coalitions can more effectively contribute to the policy-making process and encourage government accountability. We also support the development of informal citizen networks, such as a network of ethnic minorities, to raise their voices on issues that concern them.
- Increasing opportunities for dialogue and a legal environment that encourages the rights to association, information and public participation. We promote citizens’ awareness of their rights and their ability to claim them, and ensure that civil society is able to play an active role in policy and decision-making.
- Strengthening inclusiveness, representation, transparency and accountability in local governance through methods such as participatory planning, citizen report cards, community consultations, and policy dialogues. This helps to ensure responsive policies, programmes and budgets that effectively address the needs of poor people and other vulnerable groups.
How we achieve it
Together with our partners, we conduct research on governance issues and use this knowledge to develop evidence-based policy recommendations. We help to develop multi-stakeholder coalitions and informal networks on issues of public concern in order to influence public debates, advocate with the government, and monitor policy implementation. We also promote linkages among local, regional and global governance networks, convening and brokering a wide range of actors to work collaboratively and influence laws, policies and budgets.
We establish long-term partnerships with local civil society organisations and youth groups working on governance issues. We also work closely with government ministries and agencies, elected bodies such as the National Assembly and People’s Councils, mass organisations like the Vietnam Fatherland Front, the Farmers’ Union and the Women’s Union, business associations, community-based organisations, and the media. We also collaborate with international development partners as well as regional and global networks working on good governance.
With our partners, we implement a number of projects that contribute to achieving our vision for good governance in Vietnam. These include:
- Supporting multi-stakeholder coalitions to be effective advocates;
- Promoting responsible cross-border agricultural investments;
- Using mobile phone scorecards to improve public administration services;
- Increasing public budget transparency and accountability; and
- Encouraging a fair and accountable fiscal policy to ensure equitable health services.
Linking from the local to global level, Oxfam’s Good Governance programme in Vietnam is part of the following regional and global programmes and campaigns:
- Oxfam Global Land Governance Programme
- Oxfam Global Financing for Development, Fiscal Justice and Active Citizenship
- Oxfam Global Inequality campaign “Even it Up”
- Oxfam Global GROW campaign
- Oxfam Novib (Netherlands) Right to Food Partnership