- Emerging leaders are working around the world to raise their voices against corruption and making a difference in their communities and countries.
- Using music and ICT tools makes it easier to discuss corruption that can be perceived as taboo or dangerous in some situations.
- WBI is supporting a network that connects anti-corruption activists to help them share experiences, ideas and resources.
April 8, 2011—Dona Kosturanova, a young Macedonian activist, recognizes how corruption and nepotism adversely affect higher education institutions in her country. “We need to make young people aware of corruption. They should believe that it’s not just a cultural habit and something can be done,” she says. “We need to have an active youth, that’s not afraid to speak up.”
And speaking up is not the only thing she believes in. She along with her fellow activists is engaged in various anti-corruption activities in her country. One of the things Dona and her fellow activists have done was to set up a phone line for students to report incidences of corruption. They received 40 calls of actual incidences within the first three months and these were reported to the authorities for action to be taken. Another issue they tackled was the lack of transparency in public funds spending related to education. They organized a petition, collected 11,000 signatures, and influenced the courts to pass two amendments to a law and set up a student parliament.
Half way round the world in Colombia, Gina Romero works with her youth community to improve democracy and transparency. She and her colleagues created a virtual online course to empower youth in their fight against corruption. Inspired by the World Bank's Mapping for Results tool they are now working on an interactive tool to monitor the building of municipal roads.
In the Philippines, Josef Mansilla a young journalist requested Gapminder, an international online organization that supports global development by promoting analytical tools, to create an index that shows the correlation between corruption and income. The network aims to create a space where young people can set their own agenda and a safe haven for innovating reform approaches involving youth.Boris Weber, Senior Governance Specialist at WBI. Dona, Gina and Josef are emerging leaders fighting corruption in their countries and also members of the Global Youth Anti-Corruption Network (GYAC). Through the network they are able to connect with each other, share experiences, and learn what works and doesn’t in various situations.
A Network of Voices Raised Against Corruption
The network supported by the World Bank Institute (WBI) through its Voices Against Corruption program connects organizations fighting corruption and helps them share experiences, ideas and resources. They do this via an online social network, video conferences, and events such as an upcoming one in Nairobi from April 26 to 29th. At such forums the network members are introduced to interactive tools such as ICT tools and other innovative approaches to help them get better results from their efforts on the ground.
The network was launched in May 2010 at the first Voices Against Corruption forum held in Brussels. “Corruption is not an easy topic to discuss so the goal of the network was to use music and ICT tools that young people are already comfortable with to help unite them in their fight against corruption,” said Boris Weber, Senior Governance Specialist at WBI.
The Forum gave young civil society leaders, musicians, and journalists - many of whom come from post-conflict countries a space to talk about how they fight corruption in their countries. The network also worked with musicians to create songs against corruption and supported journalists who write about greater transparency and accountability.
The network is now present in more than 25 countries and is providing its members opportunities to learn, share and represent themselves in international platforms such as the International Anti-Corruption Conference held in Bangkok in December 2010 where several network members discussed their work fighting corruption.
“The network aims to create a space where young people can set their own agenda and a safe haven for innovating reform approaches involving youth,” says Weber. “In addition the program educates the network members in various governance areas including Leadership, Access to Information, Procurement and the use of ICT tools so that they are empowered to drive the reform processes and contribute to positive results in their countries.”
Competitions and Innovative Ways to Connect
The program uses competitions to gain new members. The first one was an open competition for Civil Society Organizations with an active youth component, a music component for musicians who produced music on social themes and journalists who had demonstrated experience on anti-corruption work. The winners were invited to the launch of the network in Brussels in May 2010.
In addition three of the winning bands at the conference worked together to create a song on anti-corruption. The song has been used by several member organizations for their anti-corruption campaigns.
To attend the forum in Nairobi, participating groups had to provide examples of their achievements in the past year. Also, existing members had to prove they had been active in the past year to go to the forum in Nairobi.
The network also connects anti-corruption activists and enhances their knowledge of ICT tools to fight corruption. For example, Gina is using the Mapping for Results project to map municipal roads in Boyaca province in Colombia and is using more of these tools to monitor public projects. Gina’s team and other teams will be connected with ICT and mapping experts at the forum in Nairobi to help them improve their skills in these tools and become more effective in their fight against corruption.
Read a press release from last year's event.