Samarbetsland: Vietnam

The Role of Social Norms in Reducing Corruption in Education: A Case Study of Schools in Hanoi-Vietnam

This research report presents empirical findings from an ethnographic study of the role of informal social norms in reducing corruption in public and private schools in Hanoi. The study begins by building a theoretical framework that inculcates the significance of local informal social norms in analysing/understanding corruption and designing counteraction strategies, especially at the sub-national or local level. After a two-month ethnographic study in Hanoi, a rich stock of ethnographic data was collected through observations and informal interviews. The informal social norm and practices found in various public and private schools in Hanoi included parents’ payment of teachers for extra classes to ensure better school results for their children, showing gratitude and respect to teachers by providing them with gifts on 5-6 occasions per school year, and parents’ contribution of money towards the provision of equipment in school classrooms.

Our findings suggest that within the context of the school system, these informal norms persist as pragmatic responses to the weaknesses in the country’s educational system. Consequently, they are not in themselves dysfunctional or corrupt, and are widely accepted as the “normal things to do”. Notwithstanding, some of the parents and teachers also admitted that these informal norms and practices sometimes result in unequal and discriminatory treatment of students whose parents cannot afford to conform to them. Consequently, they sometimes become dysfunc-tional and/or corrupt practices that hinder the quality of education. Hence, from a collective action perspective, we argue that efforts to reduce the levels of corruption resulting from the dysfunctional aspects of these informal norms and practices must acknowledge them as institutionalised social practices that are part and parcel of everyday life. Therefore, an-ti-corruption interventions must not focus on eradicating/suppressing these informal social norms entirely, as this might threaten social fabrics. Instead, anti-corruption interventions should actively engage teachers, parents and school administrators in reforming the dysfunc-tional aspects into functional norms and practices in line with educational quality.

Typ av publikation
Research Reports
Globala mål
16 - Fredliga och inkluderande samhällen4 - God utbildning för alla8 - Anständiga arbetsvillkor och ekonomisk tillväxt
anti-corruption, eduction, social norms, Vietnam,

Using Social Norms to Fight Corruption in Local Governments

This policy brief looks into the role of social norms to fight corruption in the school system in the Cau Giay district in Hanoi. An ongoing research project has conducted multiple ethnographic field studies in schools and included parents, teachers, and other school personnel in the research data. Their experiences and reflections are the core of this brief. The results show the existence of informal transactions to ensure good care and school results backed up on social norms such as the celebration of national holidays throughout the school year, but also exist on an everyday basis with the practices of home teaching and the recruitment of new teachers to schools. By applying a socio-legal anti-corruption perspective to the findings, we suggest a list of actions that could be implemented by local school administrators and headmasters to ensure that no child experiences corruption nor the impact of corruption on his/her schooling.

This policy brief is a result of the ICLD Local Democracy Academy 2020

Typ av publikation
Policy Briefs
Globala mål
16 - Fredliga och inkluderande samhällen

Admission requirements

Invited countries

All countries on the OECD-DAC listed ODA-eligible countries, are eligible for the programme, but if a local election is held during the year when the training takes place, the country is temporarily taken off the list. See this list:

Target group

Only elected women politicians (currently in office) in a local/regional government will be considered. ICLD will prioritize applicants holding a position of Mayor or Deputy Mayor but will also exceptionally accept applicants who are Councilors. We at ICLD aim to create a group that includes both majority and opposition politicians, as well as a diversity of ages and experience. ICLD trainings are open to all that are eligible, irrespective of physical ability.

Candidates who have previously participated in an ICLD training programme financed by Sida cannot apply for this programme.

Language requirements

The training programme will be organised and conducted in English. Proficiency in English shall be indicated in the Application form.

Health requirements

Considering the training programme consists of international travels and work away from home in a new environment, good health and ability to work without health restrictions is required. You need to be enjoying full working capacity and to be able to engage in an active programme with long days of seminars, study visits and interactive networking. It is therefore recommended that candidates undergo a medical examination before filling in the Medical Statement in the Application form.

Other requirements

The outline of the problem to be addressed by the change process will be of crucial importance in the selection of participants. Once selected, the participant is required to attend all scheduled parts of the 12-months programme and must have approval to participate in all aspects of the program from her local authority. She is required to actively participate in the workshops and complete assignments between workshops (journals, reports).

Due to the nature of the programme, family members are NOT allowed to accompany participants to the programme.


All training costs pertaining to lectures, literature, documentation, study tours and certain social activities as well as accommodation and food will also be covered by the organiser. All international travel costs related to the programme will be covered by the programme organiser. Costs for personal expenses are not included and are the responsibility of the participant or her organisation.


Participants are responsible for obtaining all relevant visas during all scheduled parts of the programme. The costs for obtaining visas are to be borne by the participant.


All participants are covered under a group insurance while on scheduled parts of the programme. Medical and dental checkups are not included.


Participants who successfully complete all scheduled parts will be awarded a Certificate of completion of training.

Application process

Closing date for applications is 8 September 2023. Application shall be made electronically, via link here below and include a recent photograph and all required information and documents. An outline of the problem to be addressed by the change process shall be submitted as part of the application and plays a key role in the selection of participants.

The change process must be described in the application and you will be asked to describe:

  • The challenge/problem for change you want to address
  • In which way this work will anticipate citizens’ needs

The application page contains details of what to include with your application. After an initial selection, a few chosen candidates will be invited for the interview, after which the final round of selection will take place.

ICLD operates anti-discrimination policy and all training courses are open to anyone despite the physical ability. If you have some physical disability, please let us know so we can solve all the practical issues that may arise.

The activities in the programme will be carried out on-site or digitally. If the situation occurs that we are forced to postpone workshops due to unforeseen situations, we at the ICLD will suggest new dates when the majority of participants can participate. If no dates are possible, ICLD will consider carrying out the workshop digitally.

Inclusive leadership and governance

Programme structure

The training consists of three compulsory workshops, of which all three are full time scheduled trainings. Periods between workshops are homebased. The total duration of the programme is 12 months.

The Inception workshop will be held in February 2024
The Sweden Phase workshop will take place in May-June 2024
The Final workshop will take place in February 2025

All workshops except the Swedish Phase workshop will be held in the participating countries. The Swedish Phase workshop will be carried out in Sweden.

Phase 1
Inception workshop

(5-6 days including travels)

More exact location to be decided

After confirmed selection, the participants will be contacted by a programme manager at ICLD and invited to the Inception workshop.

The participants and the programme management develop a shared understanding of the content, structure, methodology and management of the programme. Topics addressed in this workshop, among others: teambuilding and networking, developing the change process, and introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals. The tuition during the inception workshop consists of group discussions and lectures with a combination of Swedish and/or international experts from the region.

The Inception workshop will be held over the course of three days in one of the participating countries.

Work with the Change Process (3-4 months, in home country)

Back in their respective local communities the participants will continue to develop their Change Process. Participants will actively use web-based tools for interaction with facilitators and other participants.

Phase 2
Swedish Phase workshop

(2 weeks in Sweden including travels)

Participants will meet in Sweden for a cultural exchange, advanced leadership training, introduction to Swedish women politicians/mentors and a two-day study visit to a Swedish municipality or region. Topics of study will include, among others: the Swedish model of governance, suppression techniques and countermeasures, communication skills and how to be a good role model among other things. Tuition consists of interactive lectures and group discussions with Swedish and international experts combined with study excursions, group work and discussions.

Phase 3
Final workshop

(5 days including travels)

More exact location to be decided

The participants and the Swedish mentors meet in one of the participating countries. The goal of this workshop is to summarize and share the challenges, opportunities and
lessons learned throughout the programme. The participants will present their Change Process results. The programme also includes study visits and lectures provided by the ICLD and relevant lecturers. This workshop marks the formal end of the programme.

Learning processes

The programme employs a mixture of pedagogical methods such as lectures, group work, forum discussions, study visits and facilitated support by the assigned mentors. Support for planning, implementation and evaluation of the Change Project is mainstreamed throughout the whole programme. The number of participants is limited to 25 in order to ensure a close working relationship between participants, ICLD-staff, mentors and lecturers.

Management and staff

All the three phases of the International Training Programme are carried out under the support and management of the ICLD. In addition, the programme is supported by Swedish mentors being selected by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR).

Inclusive leadership and governance

Programme objectives

The programme aims to provide the following changes in the participant: 

  • Empower the participant with improved leadership skills  
  • Help the participant to fully utilize the power and influence of her position  
  • Strengthen her as a role model to encourage political participation among marginalized groups  
  • Give her access to a network of women in similar positions

During the training, the participant will work on her change process and implement a strategy to make the local authority equitable, participatory, transparent and accountable. 


  • Valuable exchange of knowledge and experiences
  • Extended regional and international networks
  • Improved skills as a “change agent” in initiating and implementing instituational change
  • Skills and abilities to communicate and advocate on issues of inclusive governance
  • Two-day study-visit in a Swedish municipality or region
  • Support to improve participation, equality, transparency and accountability in the local governance

What we will offer:

  • Advanced training in communication, strategic planning and leadership
  • Swedish mentorship including an individual two-day study visit in a Swedish municipality or region
  • International exposure to different political experiences
  • An opportunity for your municipality to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)


  • Through skills training workshops on site or digitally
  • Identification of challenges and finding solutions to issues faced by women politicians
  • By offering strategic support and coaching from ICLD staff and mentors
  • In sharing of professional obstacles and successes in an inclusive environment

Change process

The participant is expected to develop and work with a change process of her choice during the training. The change process should address a real problem of concern to the politician, thus contribute to translating the theoretical content of the training programme into capacity development and institutional change within her municipality. The change process aims to increase political accountability, helping leading politicians to better respond to the needs of the citizens. An outline of the problem to be addressed by the change process shall be submitted as part of the application, and plays a key role in the selection of participants. The change process requires strong commitment and involvement of the politician and should lead to the proposal of a solution. Keep in mind that there is NO funding available from ICLD for project implementation.

Inclusive leadership and governance

Växjös tekniska förvaltning vässar demokratin genom vattenprojekt med An Giang

Växjö kommun och An Giang har genom ett partnerskapsprojekt om vattenfrågor inspirerat varandra till nya lösningar. Deras samarbete har lett till att de demokratiska processerna inom tekniska frågor har utvecklats och att medarbetare har kunnat reflektera över sitt eget demokratiska bidrag.

Sedan 2010 har provinsen An Giang i Vietnam och Växjö kommun haft flera samarbeten inom miljöområdet. För några år sedan insåg parterna att de båda delade utmaningen att de har gott om ytvatten, men delvis utmaningar med bristande kvalitet. Därför skissades ett nytt projekt fram där kommunerna skulle stärka sin kapacitet att ge tillgång till rent vatten, samtidigt som de skulle vässa sitt demokratiska bidrag genom att bättre inkludera nyckelintressenter i sin planering.

Hanteringen av vatten och avlopp i kommuners tekniska förvaltningar förknippas sällan direkt med demokratifrågor. Men dessa områden har stor inverkan på invånarnas vardag och det spelar därför en viktig roll hur medborgare inkluderas och delaktiggörs i projekten. Genom det ICLD-finansierade projektet fick Växjös tekniska förvaltning reflektera över sina demokratiska processer gentemot medborgarna.

– Vi i tekniska förvaltningar utvärderar sällan oss själva i deltagande och inkluderande av invånarna, men genom ICLD har vi fått reflektera över hur vårt eget demokratiska bidrag till kommunen ser ut. Hur har medborgare kunnat påverka beslutsprocesserna, är informationen vi skickar ut tillgänglig för alla och har allmänheten insyn i projekten vi jobbar med? Genom att jobba med de frågorna vässar vi vår egen verksamhet.

Ingrid Palmblad Örlander, samordnare för projektet och utredningsingenjör i Växjö kommun

Projektet pågår mellan 2019-2021 med målet att bland annat ta fram en integrerad vattenplan i An Giangs centralort Long Xuyen. Hittills har kommunerna hållit workshops med nyckelintressenter och gjort besökt varandra för utbildningar och fältbesök relaterade till vattenutmaningarna i kommunerna. Bland annat har de utbildats i kapacitetsbyggande för offentliga samråd med medborgare och vissa deltagare har deltagit i workshops och case-utmaningar under en ICLD-utbildning i Härnösand. Redan nu har inspirationen från An Giang bidragit till att Växjö har beslutat att utveckla en egen integrerad vattenplan.

Vi inspirerades av deras engagerade sätt att ta sig an utmaningarna med vatten och avlopp. Deras specifika tekniska lösningar ligger långt ifrån våra, men deras tillvägagångssätt har inspirerat oss och bidragit till att Växjö nu också äntligen gör en vattenplan. Den workshopmetodik vi använde i Vietnam har vi också kunnat använda för idégenerering i andra projekt hemma i Växjö.

Ida Lidholt, vattenstrateg vid Kommunledningsförvaltningen, Växjö kommun
Goda exempel delas under träffarna mellan parterna. Här testar projektgruppen elcyklar som transportmedel till ett studiebesök i Växjötrakten.

Genom deras partnerskap har Växjö och An Giang redan visat hur processer för en öppen och inkluderande demokrati är viktigt även inom tekniska frågor så som vatten och avlopp. De visar också hur kommuner vars specifika tekniska lösningar står långt ifrån varandra kan lära sig och inspireras av varandras tillvägagångssätt för att ge ömsesidig nytta i ett kommunalt partnerskap.

Svensk partner
Växjö Kommun
Internationell partner
An Giang Province

Umeå and Cau Giay, Vietnam

Project: Educators – Agents for Sustainable Development

The main goal of the project is to establish better understanding among selected teachers in the pre-school and primary school on the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and on ESD which contributes to behavioural change, readiness and capacity to act for sustainable development. This project is also aimed at behavioural change, readiness and capacity to act for sustainable development among pupil. Results that the partners work to achieve are the same for both partners.

Intermediate objectives:

  • To develop a functional and agreed action- and work-plan for the teachers.
  • To increase understanding among the teachers involved in this project on ESD-program effectiveness in relation the 2030 agenda, as well as on how pre-schools and schools need and can work for personal and social well-being and sustainability.
  • To improve systems and routines for follow-up and learning among the team of teachers involved in this project, in collaboration with and support from managers for pre-schools and schools. In order for this improvement to take place both projects need to communicate and learn on potential methods, systems and routines for follow-up on ESD-programs.
  • All subjects in the selected schools on the primary and secondary level will address the 2030 agenda. (reference schools). This objective demand support by the managers of the schools and collaboration among teachers and staff.
  • To increase collaboration with parents and external actors in the City of Umeå and Cau Giay district.
Environment/Climate change
Globala mål
4 - God utbildning för alla
Svensk partner
Umeå kommun
Internationell partner
Cau Giay District of Hanoi

Umeå and Cau Giay, Vietnam

Project: Managers – Agents for Sustainable Development

The main goal of the project is to increase the capacity among a selection of managers of school areas, schools and pre-schools to support education for sustainable development (ESD) which contributes to behavioural change, readiness and capacity to act for change based on the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Results that the partners work to achieve are the same for both partners.

Intermediate objectives:

  • To develop a functional and agreed action- and work-plan for the managers
  • Increased understanding among the managers involved in this project on ESD-program effectiveness in relation the 2030 agenda, as well as on requirements on pre-schools and schools as environments for personal and social well-being and sustainability
  • To improve the support from the managers involved in this project to teachers and staff in pre-schools and schools for ESD-programs in relation to the 2030 agenda as well as for pre-school and school development for personal and social well-being and sustainability
  • To improve systems and routines for follow-up and learning among the team of managers involved in this project, in collaboration with teachers and staff at pre-schools and schools in which the members of this project assess the project as well as potential methods and routines for follow-up and learning
  • To increase collaboration with external actors in the City of Umeå and Cau Giay district
Environment/Climate change
Globala mål
4 - God utbildning för alla
Svensk partner
Umeå kommun
Internationell partner
Cau Giay District of Hanoi

Växjö and An Giang, Vietnam

Project: Sustainable water management (Blue Vietnam)

An Giang province in Vietnam and the Municipality of Växjö in Sweden, have implemented several partnership projects since 2010.

This time, the partners have identified water management as the most relevant area for further cooperation and have in a thorough stakeholder and problem analysis prepared an implementation project that is beneficial for both parties.

Surface water is in abundance in both cities, but is partially of lacking quality. In Long Xuyen city – a new waste water system is now under construction. In Växjö, there is a constant need of renovation and improvements of the existing water systems. The function of the water infrastructure and how this affect surrounding surface water, will influence everyone in the city – directly or indirectly.

Sustainable water management is a challenge, not only in our cities but all around the globe.

This three-year long (2019-2021) project aims to build capacity and focus on preparing an integrated water management plan for Long Xuyen-city and in different ways raise awareness among key-stakeholders about the importance of working towards better water quality as well as finding ways to motivate them to do so.

Find out more about the parnerships impact in this video

Technical Services and Infrastructure
Globala mål
6 - Rent vatten och sanitet för alla
Svensk partner
Växjö Kommun
Internationell partner
An Giang Province

Sjuhärad and Da Nang, Vietnam

Project: Making Da Nang an Environmental City

Globally targets and agreement are developed without clear instruction on how to strategically implement and measure the improvements. The consequence is that for example Agenda 2030 is not fully implemented in the local context. There is a need to increase the understanding and knowledge on how to strategically implement and measure sustainable development in the daily planning process in order to show and report improvement.

The project will affect to the decision makers’ mind and concept about sustainable development and environment in this period, which is very important due to Da Nang is under the process of adjusting its master plan by 2030 with the vision toward 2045.

The challenges need to be addressed holistically in both countries in order for decisions and strategies to be based on sustainability. For both our communities, it is crucial that we get clear directives from our politicians about how to work with the Global goals and the Agenda 2030 for a sustainable future. This is impossible if the politicians do not have the proper knowledge. There is a unique possibility to create new ways to work when politicians from Borås and Da Nang meet and exchange experiences and can discuss future challenges and possibilities for both countries.

The project will:

  • increase the awareness on sustainability among the decision-makers and officers
  • establish tools for implementation
  • establish a meeting point in the city to raise awareness, create a dialogue and communicate sustainability among the citizens.
Environment/Climate change
Globala mål
11 - Hållbara städer och samhällen
Svensk partner
Sjuhärads kommunalförbund
Internationell partner
Da Nang