The UN Development Programme (UNDP), Ha Noi Youth Union, and Ha Noi Youth Palace launched on 15 July 2021 a competition: “YOUTH DIGITAL CITIZEN CHALLENGE 2021” to engage young people in designing better digital solutions and services.
Despite a relatively good information and communication technology infrastructure, including widespread internet coverage which presents many opportunities, Viet Nam is still in the early stages of its digital transformation journey. The UNDP’s Public Administration and Performance Index (PAPI) in 2019 showed that people's acceptance of important online services on provinces’ web portals is below 4%. In the capital city of Ha Noi, PAPI score for the public administrative procedures was 7.17/10, public service provision was 6.87/10, while e-governance was 2.92/10.
The Vietnamese government at the highest levels has committed to digital transformation and developing an e-government ecosystem to modernize the administration and benefit citizens and businesses. In June 2020, the Prime Minister approved the National Digital Transformation Program until 2025, focusing on 3 pillars: e-government, e-economy, and e-society. The program includes ambitious goals, including bringing 80% of public services online by 2025.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Viet Nam has 23,3 million young people (in 2018), equal to 24,8% of the population. With a view to tapping into the innovative potential of young people and the power of technology “Youth Digital Citizen Challenge 2021” encouraged young people to “Create a solution package, including a technology product or service, or a communication strategy to boost the quality of e-public services in Ha Noi”.
The competition is expected to promote youth innovation and participation in governance and public administration by facilitating communication, collaboration, capacity building, showcasing and accelerating their new solutions to build an effective e-government, while creating multilateral dialogue between policymakers and stakeholders. Qualified ideas will be piloted in the capital city to increase the quality of e-public services.
“According to the E-Government Development Index – EGDI of the United Nations, from 2014 to 2020, Viet Nam has climbed from 99th place to 86th place among 193 nations,” said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative a.i, Ms. Diana Torres. “This shows continuous efforts from Viet Nam in recent years to embark on the digital transformation. However, to achieve the ambitious goals set by Viet Nam in the National Digital Transformation Programme until 2025 to become one of the top 70 nations in the EDGI, more efforts are needed to ensure that all citizens effectively use and participate in this transformation. UNDP is committed to support an inclusive and people-centered digital journey. The “Youth Digital Citizen Challenge” is an innovative initiative aimed at engaging young people in the design of better digital solutions and services. The youth of Viet Nam has the skills, knowledge, innovation, and devotion to support local governments in this process of helping Viet Nam to achieve its targets as well as towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030” (read full speech).
The “Youth Digital Citizen Challenge” will be divided into four stages:
- The registration and first round will be held online from 15 July to 10 August 2021. Potential teams can focus on the areas of Public services, Education, Health, Business Support, Natural resources, and Environment.
- Ten teams with the best ideas will be selected to participate in a two-day bootcamp from 18-19 August, with experts from UNDP, the Ha Noi Youth Union, government bodies, and some of the best companies in Viet Nam to develop the teams’ ideas.
- After the bootcamp, teams will compete in a 48-hour hackathon, from 20-22 August. The final round is going to be a dynamic and creative environment for the youth to create technological solutions or communication initiatives to improve Ha Noi’s e-public services.
- Top 3 teams will be selected by the Judges to enroll in a 3-month incubation to actualize their ideas. After the incubation, the best teams will have the chance to meet and pitch with domestic and foreign angel investors and venture capitals.
Three winning teams will have the chance to earn valuable cash rewards of up to 70.000.000 VND, coworking space packages from The HUB Global, and other grand prizes from sponsors and partners.
“With energy, commitment, and innovative ideas, young people are major drivers of change to create solutions that will accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Deputy Secretary of the Ha Noi Youth Union, Mr. Tran Quang Hung. “However, the participation of the youth in governance is still low. They need support, capacity building, and more space to utilize their strength to actively participate in governance activities. This is the motivation for the Ha Noi Youth Union to collaborate with the UNDP to organize this competition.”
The “Youth Digital Citizen Challenge” welcomes all participants including students, programmers, designers, entrepreneurs, etc. aged from 18 to 30 years old. There is no restriction on population group, occupation, or geographical location, as long as participants have ideas and capabilities in fields of information technology, communication, entrepreneurship, or the challenge’s focused areas (Public services, Education, Health, Business Support, Natural resources, and Environment). This is an opportunity for youth to show their creativity and produce breakthrough ideas that contribute to the national digital transformation.