Just ask Paul Hilder, the Vice President of Global Campaigns at online petition site Change.org. He sees ordinary citizens fight for extraordinary change every day – largely under the mainstream radar. At the opening plenary of the 15 IACC, Hilder shared one such story, of a young man from Bihar, India, whose tale unfolded when he went to get a driver’s license last year.
Paul Hilder (center) speaks at the opening plenary of the 15 IACC. To his left is Sanjay Pradhan, Vice President of the World Bank Institute; to his right is Daniel Kauffan, President of Revenue Watch. Photo credit: Virginie Nguyen Hoang
When the young man, a student, entered the public office, officials demanded a bribe. The man refused and was beaten. Unbeknownst to officials, the young man had recorded the incident on his phone. He shared it with a friend who started a campaign on change.org. Within days, 440 people had signed the petition. Because of the buzz, a collector disciplined the official and reforms were put in place. > Read full story
Just before the 15th IACC young people from all over the world gathered in Brasilia to share experiences and ideas on how youth can be more involved in the ongoing fight against corruption. It’s an annual event organized by the Global Youth Anti-Corruption Network, supported by the World Bank Institute.
We asked young activists from all over the world what hurts them the most about corruption and what steps need to be taken to stop it. Watch the video and hear the voice of the youth.
After 30 years under the Hosni Mubarak’s regime, Egypt has a new president who was elected after relatively fair elections. Although President Morsi promised a series of changes after his first 100 days of presidency, change has been hard to identify, due in large part to a corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy.
Egypt has been under the same rules and systems for several decades. Those need radical changes to help the country to develop economically, financially but also socially. For that, the President and his party, the Muslim Brotherhood, will face an uphill battle against the state’s deeply entrenched bureaucracy. The main demands of the Egyptians right now are to have an efficient government that will offer more job opportunities, a fair justice system and a rejuvenation of the economy that collapsed after the revolution. But those improvements have been delayed by two main obstacles: connections and corruption. These factors have driven the Egyptian economy for more than 30 years, increasing the price of doing business. But corruption is not only related to business in Egypt, it’s also a common feature of domestic life. Bribes are considered as part of the daily life of the Egyptians who use to pay money or buy gifts to get a right commercial or automobile licenses, to avoid fine by traffic police or even to enroll a child in a private school. Those are few examples among others.
Yesterday I was invited to dinner by a Canadian friend who lives in Mexico. Between the pasta and the wine, our conversation focused on an incident she had during the weekend, when local policeman asked her and her boyfriend for “a bite” – as explained in my latest post. The facts were: in Mexico it is illegal to walk on the streets taking any alcoholic beverage, and she left a house with a beer in hand while talking with her boyfriend. Everything was fine when suddenly a policeman arrived and told them that they could not drink on the street, that it was illegal. My friend asked the police to do what he had to do, fine her, while police offered “fix the issue” in another way. My friend’s boyfriend, Mexican, instantly understood. That meant that for 200 pesos (less than 20 dollars) he could let them go, without any repercussions.
For only 200 pesos! My friend was very surprised about how easy it is to “pass on the law” in Mexico. As a foreigner, she saw the incident with different eyes but for her boyfriend, who is Mexican, this was a part of his culture.
This story is a typical scenario in Mexico but why does it to happen? Why is it so easy and common for police to ask for bribes?
It is indeed right that the sovereignty of a country rests with the people. It is they who must chose the leaders they want, and must not complain when such leaders do not perform or turn out to be incompetent. Rather, they must apply the same criteria, wait for the next elections to come and then chose other leaders.
But does the electorate especially in the developing world have the capacity to choose wisely? The wisdom if often clouded so by poverty, ethnicity and propaganda that at the end of the day, the people are made to recycle the same politicians over and over again, while everyday complaining of corruption, ineptitude and poor management.