Ideas from the 3rd Global Voices Against Corruption Forum in Brasilia
The Lab team was lucky enough to be in Brasilia over the past two days at the 3rd Global Voices Against Corruption Forum, organized by the World Bank Institute in conjunction with the British Council’s Global Changemakers Program. The meetings involved fantastic discussions with over 100 young participants from all over the world- from Colombia to Rwanda to the Philippines. There was a huge amount of energy around lots of very good ideas. Briefly, here are three that caught our attention:
i) Gabinete Digital (Digital Office) Created in May 2011, the Digital Office is a direct channel from the Governor’s Office to citizens and civil society groups in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. Through the system, the Governor can ask citizens about critical issues and gather feedback, and citizens can also ask the administration questions about specific themes. Additionally, the tool is used for online public hearings and was used for the first digital assembly in Brazil- on healthcare- which over 30 days involved 60,000 people and set 50 priorities for the government. Gabinete Digital is allowing the government to generate ongoing legitimacy and improve service delivery on a continual basis. Read about the similar Parliament Watch system in Germany we wrote about here.
ii) Shudhify. Designed by students at Colgate University, Shudhify carries out exit surveys of citizens as they leave government offices and agencies in Bangalore, India. The team then uses this data to create rating algorithms and generate highly localized “datamaps” to differentiate between high corruption/low efficiency areas and low corruption/high efficiency areas. These findings are linked to an innovative dissemination strategy (key media outlets, theatre actors, musicians) to allow citizens to understand on a local level how services are being delivered. This creates pressure for change from the bottom-up through leveraging the self-interest of citizens who have to use the government agencies reviewed. There are some similarities with the Punjab Program for Proactive Governance that we wrote about here.
iii) Corruption Watch. This new organization in South Africa (established by the Labor Federation) combines a variety of online techniques to address accountability issues across the country. Users can report corruption (through a www.ipaidabribe.com type-model) and sign a petition against graft. The organization then uses the information gathered to investigate selected issues and hands-over findings to the authorities to take further action. It then monitors follow-up and progress, and works with the media to ensure that the issue is fully exposed. Additionally, the team analyzes patterns of corruption and shares findings with the public, mobilizing citizens to take a stand against issues that affect them. Given the link to the Labor Federation, Corruption Watch is looking in particular at issues related to the private sector, and the intersection of public-private initiatives.