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Citizens Fighting Corruption: Roles and Challenges for Civic Media

Presentation by Vinay Bhargava, Chief Technical Advisor, PTF at the MIT Media Lab Civic Media Lunch on 5/17/2012

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Citizens Fighting Corruption: Roles and Challenges for Civic Media

  1. 1. Citizens Fighting Corruption:Roles and Challenges for Civic Media By: Vinay Bhargava Chief Technical Adviser, PTF At MIT Media Lab 17th May 2012
  2. 2. My focus today is -How , many of the World’s poorest billion are being deprived of delivery of public services due to corruption and poor governance? Why and How Citizens Are Fighting Such Corruption?How the civic media is helping, and can further help, the Bottom Billion of citizens in this fight?
  3. 3. Let us start with.. - How many of the World’s poorestbillion are being deprived of delivery of public services due to corruption and poor governance?
  4. 4. Many of the World’s Bottom Billion Often Victimized Twice BYPASSED CHEATEDin economic development in social safety net. 30-60% Of subsidized food grains destined for poor in India never reach them. 47% Households in Cambodia reported paying a bribe in 2009 True Story: The Khariar Block in India
  5. 5. HOW SERIOUS IS THE PROBLEM? HUGE.More than a billion people live on $1.25 or less a day of which about 400 million in India alone
  6. 6. Problem attracting attention of brilliant minds… ..and me! .
  7. 7. In this context let me talk about.. -Why is it important to help Citizens to Fight Corruption ?
  8. 8. In a perfect world the long route of accountability will work … State Independent Politicians / Accountability Policymakers Institutions Citizens/Clients Services delivered ServiceIndividuals Social effectively Providers/Agencies IntermediariesAccountability Relationship = Citizen to state to service provider
  9. 9. But the world is not perfect and the bottom billion can not depend on the long route… Institutional Corruption Of the type postulated by Prof Lessig Undermining the long route and faith in institutions involved .Source : Transparency International
  10. 10. That is why direct citizen action to demand accountability and fight corruption are needed. State Independent Politicians / Accountability Policymakers Institutions Citizens/Clients Short Route of ServiceIndividuals Social Intermediaries Client Power Providers/AgenciesAccountability Relationships: Clients hold service providers accountable by direct action as well as by pressuring state using social accountability strategies and tools.
  11. 11. Social Accountability defined [the short route]• Beneficiary and civil society engage..• in monitoring and assessing government performance,• providing feedback on,• and voicing demands for, improved service delivery.
  12. 12. The Short Route is not a substitute for thelong route but necessary complement due to its shortcomings as exemplified by.. INSTIUTIONAL CORRUPTION
  13. 13. But…. -Can Citizens Fight Corruption ? Yes they can and they are. Here is how.
  14. 14. Help Arrives in Khariar to help citizens fight corruption.• PTF provides a grant to Ayauskam to help Khariar citizens fight corruption Mission Road,Khariar- District: Nuapada State: ODISHA MISSION: TO EMPOWER THE POWERLESS so that they can participate in the mainstream of development process on equal footing.• About Partnership for Transparency Fund ( ): – An international NGO – Vision: Citizens succeed in making their government free of corruption – Provides advice and small grants to CSOs – Supports innovation, peer learning and knowledge sharing – Run by a group of highly experienced volunteers
  15. 15. Where PTF Operates.PTF has made some 200 grants to CSOs in 44 countries
  16. 16. Ayauskam Helps the Poor in Khariar to Fight Corruption Using the Short Route. Raising Awareness of citizens rights and entitlementsNote: The photos are not all from Khariar. They are meant to illustrate the tools /strategies used by Ayauskam.
  17. 17. Khariar citizens score victories in the fight against corruptionKHARIAR-Five leading members of Citizens Against Corruption Forum • Chanda gets pension and subsidized food • Land was demarcated for the landless • Officials in the ‘pond scam’ were suspended or lost job. • Officials recognize community strength and are more responsive.• Negative Outcome: Paharia’s husband was forced to withdraw complaint.
  18. 18. Citizens Fighting Corruption in Service Delivery The Emerging Change Model 1. Raise Community awareness of their rights and benefits 5. Citizen groups 2.Form and empower periodically monitor CSOs act as citizen groups to changes and provide social engage/organizefeedback to community intermediary collective action and authorities at all stages and play a 4. Citizen groups key role. 3. Citizen groups constructively engage monitor performance with service providers and share information to demand increased to create pressure for responsiveness better results
  19. 19. How scalable and replicable is the Khariar social accountability model for fighting corruption ? Research is going on…Replicability and scalability is a huge challenge but civic media can help.
  20. 20. Now the moment you all have been waiting for… -How the civic media is helping, and can further help,the brave citizens in this fight?
  21. 21. What is needed…. Raising Community awareness of their rights and benefits Enabling Citizen groups to Forming and periodically monitor Integrated empowering citizen changes and provide groups tofeedback to community and Solution engage/organize authorities that does collective action all of this Helping Citizen groups Helping Citizen groups to monitor performance constructively engage with and share information service providers to demand to press for better increased responsiveness results
  22. 22. Scale of challengeIn India alone:• Over 6500 blocks like Khariar in India with..• 40 million Below Poverty Line households..• Are challenged to access social safety benefits over $10 billion annually. Globally• Free of corruption Over $100 billion in pro-poor development aid
  23. 23. Made for Each Other? My understanding of Civic Media tools Citizens Against Corruption (social and systems is that they enable accountability) Programs seek to: communities to:• Raise individual and • Collect and share information community awareness • Understand their needs and• Enable and Empower Groups strengths• Monitor service performance • Connect information to action• Share information • Amplify voices• Engage with authorities • Connect with new audiences• Provide feedback • Visualize data• Redress Grievances • Share content• Take collective action
  24. 24. Following applications of Civic media tools for social accountability already creating a Buzz….• : raising awareness about corruption by harnessing energy of citizens• Citizen complaint resolution• Community empowerment in Senegal the-jokko-initiative• Reproductive health information dissemination• : maps public education services in the Philippines.• Tools for citizen reporting and data mapping
  25. 25. Incomplete Mapping of tools to social accountability needs Raise Form Citizens Enable Redress SA Needs Awareness Groups Report/ Collective grievances mapping ActionCivic Media ToolUshahidi X XFrontlineSMS X XRapid SMS X XEpisurveyor XSeeClickFix XIpaidabribe X X XVoIP Drupal X X X
  26. 26. Potential Impact • World wide interest in social accountability program that make a positive impact on lives of the Bottom Billion. • Client group for Civic Media Apps for Social Accountability is large and global: CSOs, Communities, Media, and Service providers • PTF ready to provide a good testing ground through its: • Network of CSOs in several countries • Ongoing program with potential to scale up • Development experts (PTF volunteers)Press Release , WASHINGTON, April 19, 2012 . The World Bank Board of Executive Directors hasapproved in principle the creation of a Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA).The GPSA is a new mechanism to scale up and support social accountability by beneficiarygroups and civil society organizations (CSOs) in developing countries.
  27. 27. Thank you.
  28. 28. And the answer is …. NOT CONCLUSIVE BUT PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE TO PROCEED WITH CAUTION Empowering beneficiaries to demand good governance (social accountability) in service delivery has a better chance to produce good results when one or more of the following enabling conditions exist or can be ensured during implementation Space for Notional civil acceptance by Reasonable society to service Receptivity to Public access amount of operate provider of citizento information media and accountability participation freedom CSO/CBO to citizens / capacity beneficiaries Source: PTF 29
  29. 29. Grievance Redress System:
  30. 30. Mobile tools and ICT-enabled apps to promote transparency and civic engagement• The World Bank - Open Development Technology Alliance supports use of following tools to enhance accountability and improve the delivery and quality of public services through technology-enabled citizen engagement ( – EpiSurveyor: Affordable mobile data collection. – Citivox: Turn citizen reports into actionable information. – FrontlineSMS two-way SMS messaging system that enables direct communication between large groups and a central database. – SeeClickFix strengthens citizen feedback loops regarding the performance of local governments and maintenance of public assets. – Ushahidi a citizen feedback platform• MIT Media Lab: Center for Civic Media ( ) – VOIP Drupal: voice and Internet-telephony – : mobile blogging to share content to the web from any phone – Datatherapy: build capacity of community coalitions for data visualization and presentation.

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Presentation by Vinay Bhargava, Chief Technical Advisor, PTF at the MIT Media Lab Civic Media Lunch on 5/17/2012


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