The PTF Working Paper Series connects Citizens and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) around the world with knowledge, experience and advice on anti-corruption interventions, tools and methodology. Each paper is written by experienced and recognized experts in their field. The explicit focus is to bridge theory and practice, providing a set of possible solutions or entry points to an array of challenges frequently faced by CSOs. While not prescribing any one model for success, the Working Paper Series aims at sharing knowledge and encouraging further testing, comment and discussion. 

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Using Media to Fight Corruption

By Anne-Katrin Arnold and Sumir Lal

The fight against corruption needs to be fought on several fronts. Institutional reform—legislation and oversight—is one, but it will not be successful if it is not embedded in a broad change of culture. Corrupt practices are often embedded in institutional practices and every-day lives and are perceived as fixed and uncontestable. Citizens are not aware of their rights, are cynical about governments’ propensity to abuse power, fear repercussions, or are simply not aware that corruption is a social, economic, and political problem. The media—traditional mass media as well as new technologies—can play a vital role in unveiling corruption, framing corruption as public problem, suggesting solutions, and generally empower citizens to fight corruption. Media are watchdogs, agenda setters, and gatekeepers that can monitor the quality of governance, frame the discussion about corruption, and lend voice to a wide range of perspectives and arguments. By doing so, media coverage influences norms and cultures, which in turn can influence policy-making and legislative reform. Examples from India and the Philippines, among other places, show that media effects the range from public awareness of corruption to massive protests against the abuse of power. Those in the international community whose work is dedicated to the fight against corruption need to be aware of the power of the media to aid this fight and need to know how to utilize its potential. This paper provides an overview over the basic principles of media effects and illustrates these with a few case studies before presenting specific techniques of involving the media in the fight against grand corruption and every-day corruption.

Download Working Paper #1: Using Media to Fight Corruption (567 kB)

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CSOs Fighting for Integrity

By Richard Holloway

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) face a multitude of challenges when setting out to fight corruption. While the type of challenge can differ from one country to another, from sector to sector, and can be different depending on size, business model or leadership structure chosen, CSOs often struggle to balance their vision and declared goals with the necessary financial security to carry out activities as needed over a prolonged period of time. One of the recurring problems is donor-induced “projectitis”, compelling CSOs to follow a two or three year project funding cycle which may precisely come to an end when first results are in reach. Thus, many times CSOs are confronted with choices not easily made. This paper provides a check list for CSOs to self-evaluate their actions, aspirations and assumptions against common problems encountered and offers entry points to think about sustainability exploring areas often neglected. The author asks a variety of sometimes painful questions – challenging CSOs to be clear about what they want to achieve, what they can achieve and the tools they utilize walking the talk. In addition, the paper offers advice and an array of tools on communication and advocacy means available to CSOs as well as a list of resources for further exploration.

Download Working Paper #2: CSOs Fighting for Integrity (592 kB)

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Diagnosing Public Sector Corruption & Implementing Anti Corruption Programs

By Dr. Gopakumar K. Thampi

Civil society-led anti corruption interventions have scaled up considerably over the last decade, leading to an unprecedented level of proliferation of toolkits and methodologies available for replication. More often than not, there is a tendency to blindly replicate successful models and approaches without paying attention to contextual and institutional factors. This paper responds to the growing need of practitioners to take a step back and consider or even reconsider their approach toward diagnosing and implementing anti corruption programs without prescribing any one “right” solution. Rather, the author introduces an analytical framework consisting of five distinct steps to analyze, diagnose, map and assess ongoing or envisioned projects, encouraging practitioners to consider the overall environment and strategic parameters that underlie a specific instance of corruption so as to logically and specifically tailor their project towards achieving the best impact possible. The paper bridges the divide between theory and practice by laying out what type of tools may best work on what level of intervention, suggesting to not just follow any one toolkit or framework of analysis, but thinking “politically” about how the anti-corruption agenda can be best strengthened and taken forward though soundly construed projects at the grass-root level.

Download Working Paper #3: Diagnosing Public Sector Corruption & Implementing Anti Corruption Programs (1 MB)

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Strategies for Empowering Communities to Demand Good Governance and Seek Increased Effectiveness of Public Service Delivery

By Dr Vinay Bhargava

This paper provides readers with the basic idea of how demand for good governance (DFGG) strategies, in particular social accountability (SA) strategies, can be employed to help citizens demand greater authority responsiveness and thereby enhance their living conditions. Empowering Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to demand good governance through increased transparency, a higher degree of qualitative participation and the capacity to exert greater accountability from service providers, makes a difference in the effectiveness and impact of public service delivery. Fighting corruption at the grass-roots level thus becomes a two-fold priority: The empowerment of civil society is an end by itself in accountable and open societies. It allows citizens to make their rightful choices and determine the direction of community, state or even national development policy as a whole. In addition, the paper argues, that citizen engagement and empowerment to demand good governance using social accountability tools is effective in lowering corruption and holding service providers accountable. The impact of initiatives is to provide citizens with every-day efficient and effective service that affects their quality of life directly and instantaneously – preventing misery, economic distress and even the loss of life. The paper details four basic strategies how citizens around the world work to express DFGG and achieve greater responsiveness of local service providers through the “short route of accountability”. Each strategy is followed by a list of examples and details the tools most commonly used when pursuing any one strategy. Most anti-corruption projects follow more than one strategy within any one intervention. This fact can be clearly observed in chapter nine following the results chain, describing how each strategic elements builds on another until citizens have successfully experienced greater responsiveness of authorities and thus broaden their own expectations of what to rightfully expect from public service providers. Chapter 12 mentions the overall political conditions and parameters necessary to make demand for good governance measures work successfully.

Download Working Paper #4: Strategies for Empowering Communities to Demand Good Governance and Seek Increased Effectiveness of Public Service Delivery (872 kB)

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Corruption in Food Distribution Systems

By Norman Hicks and Betty Hanan

Few people would disagree that hunger and malnutrition are the worst manifestations of poverty. Despite an overabundance of food in the world, severe malnutrition continues to exist, particularly in South Asia and Africa. Faced with this situation, many countries have adopted some sort of public food subsidy and/or public food distribution system. Common forms of programs include ration shops, food stamps, food for work, community kitchens and nutrition supplements. While these systems can be effective in reducing hunger and poverty, they are programs that can be severely compromised by corruption.

PTF has been active in supporting and helping CSOs with programs designed to reduce corruption in PDS (Public Food Distribution Systems). Since 2009, it has financed eight projects with grants totaling $202,000, for projects operated by 4 CSOs (civil society organizations). All of these projects have been in India. Most projects report success in raising citizen awareness, promoting collective action, reducing corruption, and improving the operations of PDS facilities to insure fuller access to entitlements.

A number of lessons learned from these projects are drawn out and recommendations for future action are provided.

Download Working Paper #5: Corruption in Food Distribution Systems (1.3MB)

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Controlling Corruption in Public Works Safety Nets

By Prem Garg and A. Edward Elmendorf

Many governments support publically-funded rural works programs to provide safety nets for the rural poor and to deploy the underused labor productively. It is estimated that developing countries spend over 10 billion dollars a year on such programs aiming to benefit over 100 million poor. Because of their decentralized nature with activities scattered over thousands of often remote work sites and with most potential beneficiaries not used to dealing with government bureaucracies, fraud and corruption are often a major risk in such programs.

PTF projects and activities combating corruption in rural works programs have been concentrated in India. PTF has provided nearly $320,000 in ten grants to five separate CSOs for projects aimed at corruption in Indian rural works programs. In addition, PTF has provided $166,000 in 7 grants to address corruption in joint rural employment and food distribution (PDS) projects. These projects often include training programs covering social audits, public hearing techniques, community score cards, and India’s Right-to-Information (RTI) law and its application.

PTF has achieved remarkable local-level results addressing corruption in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) program in India. This paper reviews this experience and makes recommendations for future action.

Download Working Paper #6: Controlling Corruption in Public Works Safety Nets (5.3 MB)

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Figure 1  from Working Paper 4 by Dr. Vinay Bhargava

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