Vietnamese Lawmakers Learn to Better Engage With Voters

Dao Tu Hoa answers media ques-tions during her first NA session Vietnam Television
Dao Tu Hoa answers media questions during her first National Assembly session on Vietnam Television.
Vietnam Television
Training prepares newly elected deputies to represent constituents
“After the training, I felt confident talking to voters about their concerns.”

April 2017—When Dao Tu Hoa was elected to the National Assembly of Vietnam in June 2016, she was aware of the great responsibility that came with her new role as a people’s deputy. Although she had previously worked as a judge, she knew that an even greater challenge lay ahead—raising the opinions and concerns of her constituents to the highest levels of government.

“Normally, newly elected deputies are like fish out of water in their first NA [National Assembly] sessions,” said Nguyen Hanh Phuc, secretary general of the National Assembly.

This is how Hoa felt as she prepared to fulfill her mandate. She was eager to repay the voters’ trust, but concerned that she lacked the skills to do so. With some preparation from Vietnam’s Training Center for Elected Representatives, however, these concerns proved unfounded.

At the beginning of the 14th Legislature, Hoa, together with more than 300 new National Assembly deputies, participated in an orientation training program organized by the center, with technical support from USAID. The training included sessions on voter engagement, media interaction and oversight skills.

“The 14th Legislature deputies are very confident and adapt quickly to NA activities because they received timely training,” said Phuc.

The training equipped newly elected deputies with the knowledge and skills essential for modern-day parliamentarians, and was conducted using methods to give new deputies hands-on experience of voter engagement. The training also revealed how it felt to be in their constituents’ shoes.

“I had the opportunity to interact with the trainers and other deputies, as well as participate in role plays to practice new skills,” said Hoa. Reflecting on her first voter meeting, she added, “After the training, I felt confident talking to voters about their concerns, and even received compliments from my more experienced colleagues for the way I handled the meeting.”

As Vietnam accelerates its legal and trade reforms to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth for all citizens, effective representation by deputies has become vital. The orientation training has helped them improve their service as representatives of the people and better ensure that the voice of the people is heard.

This work has been supported by USAID’s five-year Vietnam Governance for Inclusive Growth program, which began in 2013 and works with the Government of Vietnam to support trade; legal and regulatory reforms; governance; and inclusive economic growth.

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Last updated: April 05, 2017

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