Jordan, South Africa and Tunisia join the movement
Around the globe people are speaking out about fighting corruption and working with Transparency International to hold the corrupt to account. Many act in difficult environments where both the press and civil society are restricted and the authorities actively conceal wrongdoing. But the fact that more organisations want to join this cause is something that we are proud of and welcome.
In the past month three organisations – in Jordan, South Africa and Tunisia – have become part of the Transparency International movement. We take a look at the work they are doing:
Jordan – Rasheed Coalition
Rasheed in Arabic denotes good governance as a virtue. This newly formed coalition is comprised of civil society organisations, as well as lawyers and activists who have been integral in pushing the anti-corruption agenda in the wake of almost weekly protests in Jordan since 2011. Their message is a call to clean up corrupt institutions and fight impunity.
Rasheed’s initial projects have focused on budget transparency. They want to organise a campaign to get citizens more involved in their country’s financial affairs. The organisation is calling for opening budgets to public scrutiny to show taxpayers where their money is being spent at a time when public service delivery is poor. It has also launched a series of street theatre performances about municipal budgeting.
Jordan was ranked 66 out of 177 countries in the 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index with a score of 45 out of 100. The scale goes from 0 – 100, with zero being most corrupt and 100 most clean.
Nevertheless, some 72 per cent of Jordanians surveyed in our latest global public opinion survey believe people can make a difference in fighting corruption. Rasheed shares the same view as it strives for enhanced transparency in government and more accountable leaders.
South Africa – Corruption Watch
For public-sector corruption to be dealt with effectively, it needs a multi-prong approach: one that puts pressure at the top while nurturing young people to become the ethical decision-makers of tomorrow.
That’s the essence of South Africa’s Corruption Watch – the first civil society organisation in the country to encourage the public to report their experiences of corruption and then to use the data to confront authorities and demand action.
Corruption Watch focuses on public sector petty bribery on the roads and corruption in schools, as well as public procurement, all areas where Transparency International has global experience.
The organisation says it’s looking forward to working with Transparency International to look at land issues in Sub-Saharan Africa, although in South Africa, illegal occupation and sale of land is mainly of an urban nature, according to its executive director David Lewis.
As part of its schools campaign, the civil society organisation has drawn on the popularity of a local social media platform Mxit to find out from young South Africans what type of corruption issues they see in schools. Teacher absenteeism, bribing for exam marks, and crumbling infrastructure because funds go astray, are top concerns.
In Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index, South Africa was ranked 72 out of 177 countries surveyed, sharing a score of 42 with Serbia.
– David Lewis, Corruption Watch
I Watch – Tunisia
Tunisia is dubbed the cradle of the Arab revolutions. I Watch was right in the middle of the euphoric events that led to the ousting of Tunisian president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. The organisation was officially launched in February 2011 after a major sit-in in Kasbah in Tunis against the government.
I Watch members, whose average age is 23, are active in nine regions in Tunisia and there’s a high percentage of female participation. Through mobilising Tunisian youth online and on the streets, I Watch has managed to channel the enthusiasm and commitment towards a democratic country into an important anti-corruption voice in the fragile political Tunisian landscape.
The organisation monitored the 2011 elections. It also oversaw the country’s first university elections in March 2012 and the student elections in tertiary institutions.
The organisation has published a handbook on political party financing and is currently tackling a landmark survey among the youth to gauge which institutions they see as most corrupt.
Tunisia was ranked 77 out of 177 countries surveyed in the 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index, scoring 41 out of 100.
Editor's note: On 29 January 2014 the third paragraph of the section about Jordan was amended to show the correct ranking of the country in the 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index. Tunisia's score in the last paragraph was corrected to 41; it had previously been incorrectly recorded as 45. We regret the errors.
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