Face to face with corruption: institutionalization of the civic defender and public councils to fight corruption at municipal level

The project aimed to shape an adequate public counteraction against all forms of corruption. Advocacy and capacity building for the local Ombudsman institution (Public Mediator) in Banite municipality and multiplication of the experience (best practices) in other municipalities of the Rhodopa region were some of the projects core activities.

Pedagogical model for anti-corruption education in secondary schools

The project aimed at introducing anti-corruption education in the secondary schools trough the elaboration of an applied pedagogical model with the participation of teachers, pupils and parents. Some of its expected results were:

  • Analysis of corruption in the secondary education, review of the international experience in civil education;
  • Teaching syllabus and programs;
  • Methodological manual for teachers;
  • Training seminar with teachers;
  • Pilot model approbation;
  • Information and media campaign

Results

 

January 2004

The project was launched  as the project team consisting of experts and an administrative assistant was made up and they took to performing the scheduled activities.

February-March 2004

An empirical sociological survey was conducted among secondary school students, teachers and parents from Sofia. Its findings were crucial for the project’s goal since the particular corruption practices, attitudes and perceptions could be incorporated into civil and anti-corruption curricula. The sample covered 193 students, 128 parents and 129 teachers.The surveyed units were defined through a two-stage cluster sample. This sample was representative for the groups surveyed (secondary school students, parents and teachers) from the city of Sofia.

On 27 February, 2004 a press conference informing about the launch of the project was delivered at the press club of the Sofia Press Agency. It was attended by representatives of partner organizations and reporters from over ten media.

March-April 2004

A series of working meetings were held with the managing staff and boards of trustees of the two schools where the core part of the project was to be carried out: 135th Secondary General School Jan Amos Komenski and the National Secondary School of Trade and Banking. The meetings served to negotiate the project activity schedule, the responsibilities of the parties, and the manner of communication in the course of the project. Teachers that were to take part in the project were also selected.

May 2004

The sociological survey findings were processed. The statistics received was rather valuable in terms of the implications it had for the education process in the following project stages. The data drawn from the interviews complemented the information gathered in the two focus groups from the first trimester which featured 17 randomly selected secondary school teachers. The main causes of secondary school corruption as defined with the help of these two tools were:

• the general crisis of values in society;

• the crisis of family relations and family upbringing;

• the lack of basic material comfort and education facilities at schools;

• teacher underpayment;

• the sense of impunity;

• the lack of effective anti-corruption actions on the part of the public authorities (especially the judiciary);

• the public schools funding system which lags far behind modern requirements;

• the fuzzy rules on private tutoring by public school teachers;

• violations in the entrance competitions at top-rating secondary schools.

June-August 2004

Anti-corruption syllabi and curricula were developed consisting of separate modules fairly independent in contents. These modules were roughly based on the Anti-Corruption Manual previously developed by Coalition 2000. Model lesson plans were prepared for teachers to use during the try-out phase of the curricula. These included elements such as projects, role plays, group work, and a number of extracurricular and out-of-school activities. They involved an interdisciplinary approach with the possibility of using the plans in various academic subjects as well in special lessons in the weekly class-focused sessions.

November 2004

One of the project’s main lines of activity was teacher training aimed at enhancing teachers’ skills in civic education and anti-corruption. Their first training seminar was held on 12 -13 November 2004 at the Secondary School of Trade and Banking. It was attended by 30 teachers from the two target schools including their principals. The seminar was devoted to Methodology of Anti-Corruption Education Instruction.

On 26 November, 2004 the sequel of the on-site teacher training was held at the other participating school 135th School Jan Amos Komenski at which fourteen more teachers were trained. Among the training’s main topics were:

• civic education in EU countries;
• planning the education process;
• the essay as a testing tool.

January 2005

On 29-30 January 2005, at its closing conference the project team announced its secondary school corruption survey findings from the study it conducted in the two Sofia-based schools in 2004. The organizers also presented an electronic manual containing methodological hints, model curricula and teaching aids for possible anti-corruption courses at secondary schools. Its main highlights are:

• details about the Elisaveta Klark and Penka Kasabova Association;
• review of the project’s theoretical background;
• teacher training within the project;
• presentation of survey findings;
• foreign experience in civil education;
• modern approaches to education planning (model syllabi, lesson plans, etc.);
• innovative teaching methods;
• contemporary methods for student evaluation.

Source: http://www.anticorruption.bg/acartShow.php?id=6005

Act on Free Access to Information

A law on free access to information that is a powerful tool for corruption control and watchdog activities has been absent in the Czech legal framework for quite a long time; this project contributed to the successful culmination of the efforts to bring it into life. The seminar was widely inclusive, convening the representatives of the civil society, deputies, journalists and civil servants. The printed outcome of the seminar was distributed to the members of Chamber of Deputies before the vote. The advocacy part and media campaign implemented by TIC targeted three main groups – deputies and senators, journalist and young people. The message was simple – allow for free access to information. Tools like free postcards with a motto “Get informed by your deputy or senator when they allow you to access the information” were used. TIC issued around 10.000 postcards and sent them to all legislators and important journalists; the postcards were also distributed freely by a chain of cinemas, cafes and restaurants. The main message of the campaign was modified and extended for each of the target groups (via press releases, letters or info brochures). The campaign managed to get the deputies and senators under pressure and made some of them to make a public commitment to support the law (43 out of the 200 deputies made the public commitment they would vote for the law). An individual approach to each and every deputy and senator proved efficient; it allowed for expression of their personal opinions and for media coverage. There was also an important role of journalist who were not only transmitting the message but took active part in the campaign. TIC supplied media actively with additional info on how the law works in different European countries or delivered the statements of the involved Czech deputies. The law was adopted in spring 1999 and went into effect as of January 2000.

Youth Awareness in the Schools

Public opinion surveys conducted by the ACTION Project indicate that Ukrainian youth are among the primary groups victimized by corruption and is a group that voluntarily participates in corrupt activities. In view of this, the Lviv-based NGO, For a Common Future, developed an inte ractive simulation exercise and curriculum for students to make them more aware of the negative costs of corruption and what to do about it.

They worked with to the Lviv State Administration, which ordered that anticorruption classes would be included in the school curriculum on Legal Studies for Grades 9–11 starting in the academic year 2008-2009. Teachers were trained and the course was launched in 1000 out of 1450 schools. Next, the NGO developed a manual for the course, with the involvement of specialists from the Ukraine Ministry of Education and Science. In August 2009, the Commission on Educational Work of the Research and Methodological Council of the Ministry approved the manual and recommended it for use in secondary, vocational, professional and higher education institutions of I-II accreditation levels.

Source: Promoting Citizen Engagement in Combating Corruption in Ukraine (action) USAID Read it here.

Conflicts of interest

In order to reduce political corruption the project aimed at enactment of an effective law on the conflict of interest. TIC proposed a draft law and managed to build a coalition around it, advocate the draft successfuly and push it through; the law went into effect as of January 1, 2007. Media campaign was part of the project.

Integrated strategies for natural resource exploitation

The project aimed at:
– creating a virtual information center for monitoring the exploitation of natural resources in Romania;
– developing local civil society representatives’ capacity to actively participate in the development of regional strategies for the exploitation of natural resources;
– raising awareness among local and central authorities in resource rich areas about the necessity to design local sustainable development strategies for the exploitation of natural resources;
– advocating for transparency and accountability of central authorities’ management of natural resources.

Free access to information of public interest is a right, not a privilege

The project aims at contributing, through watchdog and advocacy activities, to a better and a more uniform implementation of transparency and accountability principles in Romania. Specific objectives: • Building local capacity of civil society in using proper advocacy tools for holding public authorities accountable for granting free access to information. • Raising awareness of public authorities on the duty to provide unrestricted, non-discriminatory access to information for all categories of solicitors, regardless the subject matter of the request or the type of institution.

INFO Act of the Year – Competition (formerly: The Biggest Friend and Enemy of Information)

The project was designed as a competition: individuals and organizations could nominate a public institution/government body as positive or negative example for providing information based on the Freedom of Access to Information Act (FOIA); at the end of each year the “winner”” was given an award (http://www.infocin.sk/).”

Corruption – everyone loses

This initiative organized by Stowarzyszenie Instytut Nowych Technologii focused on raising social awareness about the corruption issues and simultaneously endeavored to diminish public acceptance of any form of corruption in the Łódzkie province. The organization applied means to both ridicule corruptive activities as well as spur a discussion about commonness of this phenomenon in Poland. The organizer intended to target different types of audience with this action and encourage reflecting on corruption. To achieve that, a light and fun-related form of the messages was chosen in order to appeal to the target groups.
During the action various measures were applied:
• Surveys of corruption perception in the Łódzkie province (some 750 respondents)
• Public debates devoted to anti-corruption issues, in which well known and popular celebrities (football players) as well as sociologic experts took part
• Workshops on ethical code of conduct for those groups, which were perceived in the survey as having the greatest exposure to corruption i.e. police, public officials, healthcare workers (high turnouts)
• Open space public happenings with an anti-corruption message (some 600 people)
• A family-oriented picnic with games and activities rising awareness of corruption issues (some 300 people)
• Final conference (with low participation rate)

Preventing corruption through education, information and consciousness-raising

The project aimed at increasing anti-corruption awareness through education of the youth, dissemination of anti-corruption information, expansion of sociological basis and awareness-raising on the financing of political parties and campaigns, thus contributing to the development of civil society. The project consisted of four independent but thematically-linked components: 1) preparation of the anti-corruption education course for higher schools; 2) carrying out a long-term TV programme on anti-corruption; 3) using public opinion surveys for improving the anti-corruption measures; 4) round-table discussion on the problems related to the financing of political parties and political campaigns. Intended outcomes: 1) Anti-corruption education introduced into higher school curriculum; 2) Anti-corruption information disseminated through TV on a long-term and regular basis; 3) The public opinion surveys carried out; 4) Round-table discussion on topical issues related to the financing of political parties.

Transparency of political party funding

A small research team from the Institute of Public Affairs (Instytut Spraw Publicznych) carried out an appraisal of financing of the political parties’ electoral campaigns. It was an in house research not related to any public campaign. They focused on official information provided by the parties to a governmental agency responsible for gathering such documents, which the parties are obliged by the law to deliver. Moreover, the team carried out in-depth interviews with or contacted via email/fax (one party and three main governmental controlling bodies) representatives of the political parties.
A project final output was a report on budgetary subsidies to political parties for running their electoral campaigns. The report was released at the press conference and was commented by all the major newspapers and on-line news portals as well as radio and TV news. It included a detailed analysis of a gathered material as well as recommendations aiming at enhancing transparency of the political party funding.
Goals of the project:
• assessment of corruption risks in the political party financing system
• enhancing the transparency of parties’ expenditure of budgetary subsidies
• civil society control of the party financing
• increasing public awareness of party financing system