Millennium Challenge Grant Program Monitoring

The Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) has played a leading role in promoting the civic oversight and transparent implementation of the Millennium Challenge Georgia (MCG) Compact – a seminal and innovative assistance programme for Georgia from the Government of USA, which entered into force on 7 April 2006 with duration of five years.
EPRC has been monitoring the Millennium Challenge Georgia (MCG) Program since January 2006. Supported by Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF), the monitoring of this key foreign assistance program in Georgia has been implemented in cooperation with other NGOs that are members of the Transparent Foreign Aid to Georgia Coalition.
Over the period between 2006 and 2010, the EPRC published five monitoring reports, corresponding to the five stages of MCG implementation. These reports have been recognized as important tools for achieving transparency of the program and promoting the accountability in its implementation. EPRC has identified serious flaws in the management of the project, revealed lack of competence in several contractors, facilitated the development of transparency strategy, analyzed the impact of the program on the economic and monetary parameters in the country, and reviewed the conformity of results achieved through the implementation of projects with the goals declared in the Compact.
source: EPRC

Limitation of corruption and conflict of interest in the area of state incentives for foreign investments

The project aimed at increasing transparency of relations between the public administration and the foreign corporate investors via conflict of interests monitoring.

The organization became an active player within different administrative processes related to corporate investments in different parts of the country. Strategies towards big corporate business were developed, monitoring of decisions on state incentives for foreign investors was in place.

An important achievement was the Declaration of Understanding concluded with Hunday Motor Manufacturing, company that was preparing a big investment in Moravia.

The coalition of NGOs advocated the declaration that was co-signed by the representatives of the regional authorities and the Czech Invest agency and Ministry of Trade and Industry. The issue got extensive media coverage.

 

Read more about the Environmental Law Service initiatives on anti-corruption here (English).

Restricting Corruption in a Transition Society (Legal Aspects)

The goals of the projects were: to identify the most corruption-sensitive areas in Estonia; to find the most efficient legal means to restrict corruption; to offer solutions increasing the transparency of decision-making. The project identified and analysed legal aspects of restricting corruption. Other countries’ experience and its possible applications in Estonia were summarised in the course of the project.

Curbing system leakages: the health sector and licensing in Estonia

The Baltics social audit measured the public’s perception of the social phenomenon of corruption and their concrete experience with corrupt practices in the health care and licensing sectors. Final sample was 3388 households, 7526 people. The goal was to help reduce system leakages that result from petty corruption and to suggest actionable steps to improve the situation in the health and licencing sectors.

Results

  • Licensing 91% of applicants paid for the licence/permit.
  • 8% of applicants gave unofficial payment or gift for licence/permit.
  • Mostly paid inspector or admin staff Rating of government health services and perception of corruption in the services – corruption high/v high – 33% and Corruption not high/v high – 38%
  • Suggestions for change to government health services – 39% willing to pay to have the change in government health services.
  • Suggestions for change to family doctor services – 31% willing to pay for the change in family doctor service.
  • Suggestions for change to specialist doctor services – 40% willing to pay for the change in specialist doctor services. 59% of households answered they would be willing to pay to avoid a waiting list for surgery or other hospital treatment.

Reducing Corruption in Estonia

The objective of the survey was to fit answers to the following questions:
1) how is corruption defined and to what extent it is condemned;
2) how far spread is corruption in the opinion of the respondents;
3) how frequent is exposure to corruption and what are the situations of potential exposure
4) what is the readiness to report cases of corruption;
5) what is the potential material and moral damage caused by corruption?

The survey was carried out in December 2004 in three parts: interviews with the general population of Estonia (1002 respondents, one-on-one interviews), entrepreneurs (503 respondents, telephone interviews) and employees of the public sector (901 respondents, internet interviews).

Corruption in Estonia: analyzing 3 different target groups 2004

The Survey ‘Corruption in Estonia’: analyzing 3 different target groups was first time carried out 2004. The objective of the survey “Corruption in Estonia: a survey of three target groups”” was to find answers to the following questions:

1) how is corruption defined and to what extent it is condemned;

2) how far spread is corruption in the opinion of the respondents;

3) how frequent is exposure to corruption and what are the situations of potential exposure;

4) what is the readiness to report cases of corruption;

5) what is the potential material and moral damage caused by corruption?

The survey was carried out in December 2004 in three parts:

  • interviews with the general population of Estonia (1002 respondents, one-on-one interviews),
  • entrepreneurs (503 respondents, telephone interviews) and
  • employees of the public sector (901 respondents, internet
    interviews).

Corruption in Estonia: analyzing 3 different target groups 2006

The Survey Corruption in Estonia: analyzing 3 different target groups at the first time was carried out 2004. In autumn 2006 the second survey was carried out. The objective of the survey was to fit answers to the following questions (and to communicate results via public debate):

1. How big problem is corruption in the opinion of the respondents
2.how is corruption defined and to what extent it is condemned

3.how far spread is corruption

4. how frequent is contact with corruption

5.how receptive are people to corruption

6. what is the potential damage caused by corruption

The survey was carried out in three parts: interviews with the general population of Estonia (503), entrepreneurs (500) and employees of the public sector (1321).

Results

Corruption was considered a problem by almost three-fourths of the population of Estonia and one-fourth of entrepreneurs.

Employees of the public sector are less tolerant of corruption.

Estonians are also less tolerant of corruption in comparison with other nationalities.

Corruption is considered to be more widespread in Tallinn. 3% of the people of Estonia and 12% of entrepreneurs have given a bribe.

15% of the entrepreneurs claim that they have been asked for a bribe.

14% of the population, 20% of entrepreneurs and 4% of public sector employees have experienced some form of corruption.

People admit very little of corruption, because they believe that it would be very difficult to prove and do not want to create further problems.

Perception of the spread of corruption and the reliability of state institutions are related phenomena.

Strengthening the Media’s Role as a Watchdog Institution in Georgia

Goals

With funding from the European Union, EPF began the Strengthening the Media’s Role as a Watchdog Institution in Georgia project, focused on increasing public access to high quality, professional, independent information.
Main activities of the project are the following:

• Perform a media landscape study through surveys, focus groups and in-depth interviewing.

• Link the Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters (GARB) with a media association in a new EU member state and undertake activities aimed at institutional development of the GARB.

• Conduct trainings for media and legal professionals on the specifics of investigative journalism, media legislation, access to information.

• Establish the Georgian Media Legal Defence Centre (GMLDC) to provide free legal aid for journalists, media outlets, and lawyers and to advocate for legislative changes.

• Hold TV and public discussions involving all stakeholders to encourage broad, inclusive dialogue on the state of the media in Georgia.

• Conduct targeted grant competitions on investigative journalism.

Results

EPF’s Caucasus Research Resource Center has undertaken a study of the Georgian media landscape consisting of a survey of public attitudes to the media in Georgia, a series of focus groups with media consumers, in-depth interviews with media professionals, and media monitoring of Georgian TV news. The results of the study were presented at the “European Union-Georgia” Civil Society Human Rights Seminar on Media Freedom and Internally Displaced Persons organized by the European Commission Delegation to Georgia in November, 2009. The report provided a comprehensive picture of the current situation in the Georgian media and served as the basis for a vibrant discussion at the seminar.

Source: Eurasia Partnership Foundation. Read more about this project here.

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.

Countering corruption at the municipal level – anti-corruption measures in the Pernik region municipalities

The project was realized in the course of Coalition 2000 and USAID Open Government Initiative Project: “Civil Society Against Corruption”” – Small Grants Program. The goal of the current project was the improvement of the interaction between administration, civil society and business at local and regional levels.”

Forum for ethical business promotion

The Foundation for Promotion of Entrepreneurship (Fundacja Rozwoju Przedsiębiorczości) had a general objective of raising the social awareness about corruption and its social and legal consequences and at the same time the project was to promote ethical behavior. Additionally, mapping out corruption risks in the Łódzkie province constituted another main goal.

Facing the administration: Research on the good practices of the Bulgarian administration

The aim of the project was to improve the public perception towards the public administration by identifying and promoting the good practices of the municipal administration. The outputs of the project are: 1. a survey of the good practices in the local public administration; 2. publication of a comprehensive report with precise recommendations based on the findings of the research; 3. realization of six educational seminars for dissemination of the findings within the target groups; 4. media coverage of the project including a national press conference.

Georgian Government under the Sunshine and/within “FOI Implementation, Law Reform and Financial Transparency”

The project was one of the most important and influental in the anti-corruption sphere in Georgia. it had a long duration period with several phases, with strong support from many different international donors with large sclae funding. The project aimed at the promotion of accountable government structures through the implementation of the legislation on the access to information and, at the same time, through the promotion of financial transparency in the public institutions funded from the state budget by using FOI as an instrument. The following activities were implemented within the framework of the project: 1. Implementing freedom of information principles in real life by strategic litigation and monitoring access to information; 2. Monitoring and advocacy through the project “Georgian Government under Sunshine”, which includes the following elements: support of the establishment of public broadcaster; monitoring of the President’s reserve fund; monitoring of the Government’s reserve fund; monitoring of the reserve fund of Adjara autonomous republic; 3. Assistance to the development of the local NGO sector addressing corruption and transparency actions in Adjara and Kutaisi; 4. Round tables and trainings for judges and freedom of information officers; 5. Creation of data bases of freedom of information officers in Georgia; 6. Creation of an online guidebook on Freedom of Information; 7. Elaboration of recommendations for the promotion and development of freedom of information legislation and practice in Georgia.

Requesting the Ombudsperson to Act on the Infringement of Patients’ Rights in the University Clinic of Kosovo

The Group for Medical and Ecological Studies has initiated the procedure related to the findings and investigations done by the observers of the Group, at the specified clinics in the University Clinical Centre of Kosovo. The practices reported at the Ombudsperson Office contain elements of the violation of the discipline in work in the UCCK and a breach of the positive law on patient rights

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.

True accountability in National & European Parliament(s): Civil Society Accesses the MPs’ nominal votes on laws

The project aimed to:
– support the development of accountable MPs in the national and European Parliaments through systematic monitoring of the concrete activity in these bodies and through exposing this activity to the citizens of Romania;
– strengthen civil society capacity of monitoring and tracking MPs activity, by stimulating the creation of a civic platform in the region.

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)

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