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Exporting Corruption

Data - Exporting Corruption

Community speaks out - "Include me!"

Four people behind a huge polaroid frame are waiting for a photo to be taken. In front of them, a laptop is playing a video.

Illustration: Magdalena Michalka © Transparency International

Homeless on a strange island, with nothing but empty promises of new housing. This was the nightmare facing 52 families from the Maldives who were relocated without any alternative from islands vulnerable to erosion and sea surges. The government gave them no compensation and no housing. Other families lucky enough to receive housing on arrival faced worse flooding than on the islands they had left, as the government had ignored local knowledge when building their housing units.

The Maldives is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change – but without strong community involvement in design and monitoring its climate response projects, they weren’t responsive to people's needs.

In 2016, Transparency Maldives launched a national campaign called Ma Bassaa (“Include me!”) to promote community ownership of climate projects. Among its many initiatives, Transparency Maldives made a video about the relocated families’ story and launched a hugely popular social media campaign to lobby the government for proper compensation and housing, reaching over 60,000 people on Facebook. Within months, the promise of proper housing was included in the 2018 national budget.

See the video:

Maldives: Fighting corruption and construction in a tropical paradise

The Maldives is considered a dream holiday destination for many. But construction is threatening its fragile coral reefs and azure blue lagoons. Some locals are taking a stand against the building boom.