Md. Shariful Islam*
Abstract: Corruption is a common and crucial phenomenon of Bangladesh. This paper examines the role of TIB (Transparency International Bangladesh) in combating corruption at local levels. It also aims to focus on the overall functions of TIB at local level. This study is based on two CCCs (Committee of Concerned Citizens) areas and from where, only 120 peoples were selected of total population in two CCC areas. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used for data collection. It is revealed from the study that TIB’s activities at local level aware the people for their rights and entitlements. Youth engagement is effective for awareness building to curbing corruption and youth will lead the country in future and rebuild the country. The results of the study shows that TIB’s activities at local level should be made more prolific to minimize the corruption as people without accessing to proper informing being deprived to get access to their rights.
Keywords: Transparency International Bangladesh, Corruption, Committee of Concerned Citizens and Youth Engagement.
In a complex prone world, corruption is a massively widespread and big challenge for contemporary world. In modern world, corruption is a chronic but it see in ancient times. At that time corruption was not massive. Corruption is a common and crucial phenomenon in developing and underdeveloped countries in the world. It has become a hot subject in developing countries. Corruption is a serious obstacle to the way of good governance in Bangladesh. It promotes the interest of a few over many. Rampant corruption slows down the investment and growth. It prevents a fair distribution of a national wealth and broadens the gap between the rich and poor. What is most dangerous is that it is mainly responsible for the breakdown of law and order in the country[MTI1] .
Inception of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) as a trust in 1996, and in 1998 the government of Bangladesh approved its registration as a non governmental organization. TIB’s vision is a prosperous Bangladesh with equitable distribution of wealth. TIB’s mission is to curb corruption and improve governance in the public, private and non government sectors through greater accountability, transparency and public participation in order to promoting democracy and ensuring sustainable development in Bangladesh. In my study, I have tried to investigate, analyze and evaluate the role of TIB in combating corruption at the local level. I have selected some activities of TIB at local level. And I have selected four demographic variables for analyzing the impact of the performance of TIB in local level. No major study has yet been conducted on this topic. This study will explore the real picture of TIB’s activities at local level and its performance.
Objectives of the Study
The study has been designed to focus TIB roles in local level on combating corruption. The main objectives of the study area of;
- To discuss the functions of TIB in local level;
- To investigate, analyze and evaluate the role of TIB in combating corruption in local level;
- To examine the level of transparency and accountability of TIB[MTI2] in combating local level corruption.
There is no single, comprehensive, universally accepted definition of corruption. Corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries. Corruption is most commonly defined as the misuse or the abuse of public office for private gain (World Bank, 1997, UNDP, 1999). In these perspectives, Oxford English Dictionary notes Corruption as the perversion or Destruction of integrity or fidelity in the discharge of public duties by bribery or favor.1 According to the Michael Clark, “Corruption involves the diversion of public funds into private hands, and resources not only does it lead to the enrichment, often to grotesque levels, of those who find or get themselves into positions where they can exercise corrupt influence, but it involves the exclusion of those unable to participate in paying for corruptly given favours”.2 Corruption can come in various forms and a wide array of illicit behavior, such as bribery, extortion, fraud, nepotism, graft, speed money, pilferage, theft, embezzlement, falsification of records, kickbacks, influence peddling, and campaign contributions. 3 In this connection, H. Lindsey Parris states, “Corruption means charging an illicit price for a service or using the power of office to further illicit aims. It can involve legal activities or illegal ones. It can be internal to the organization (for example, embezzlement) or external to it (for example, extortion)”. While corruption is commonly attributed to the public sector, it also exists in other aspects of governance, such as political parties, private business sector, and NGO.4 In this connection, Josefeh S. Nye states, “Behaviour which deviates from the normal duties of a public role because of private regarding (family, close private clique), pecuniary or status gain, or violates rules against the exercise of certain types of private regarding influence. This includes such behaviour as bribery (use of reward to pervert the judgment of a person in a position of trust), nepotism (bestowed of patronage by reasons of astrictive relationship rather than merit), and misappropriation (illegal appropriation of public resources for private regarding use)”.5 According to Inge Amundsen;
“Corruption is usually understood as involving some corrupted politicians and public administrators. Corruption is when a civil servant, official, bureaucrat or politicians (anyone elected or appointed to a position of public authority, with power to allocate [scarce] public resources in the name of the state or the government) is abusing this official position for personal or group gain. The corrupt act is when this person demands or accepts money or some other form of reward, for himself or for his family, friends and allies”.6 Considering all those definitions, an operational definition of corruption can be defined as follows: ‘corruption is a multifarious matter, which involves practices in power of individual, to create political and economic discrimination and of all involves human values of individual’. Corruptions undermine democratic institutions, make economic development and contribute to governmental instability. Corruption attacks the foundation of democratic institutions by distorting electoral processes, perverting the rule of law and creating bureaucratic quagmires whose only reason for existing is the soliciting of bribes. Economic development is stunted because foreign direct investment is discouraged and small businesses within the country often find it impossible to overcome the “start-up costs” required because of corruption[MTI3] .
Methodology of the Study
TIB conduct their activities in forty five districts and upazilas in Bangladesh through Committee of Concerned Citizens (CCC[MTI4] ). Considering some reasonable causes two CCC areas are selected by cluster sampling. In this method, in first stage we select cluster as a sample and second stage we select sample as a selected cluster. (Firstly: two CCC areas are selected from thirty six CCCs and then 120 peoples were selected of total population in two CCC areas). We select two CCC on the basis of two factors. Factors are;
- Socio-financial condition of those CCCs and
- Political dichotomy and political consciousness of those CCCs.
Two CCC areas are of:
Savar upazila is located in Dhaka district. On the other hand, Rangpur Sadar upazila is located in Rnagpur district. The total population of Savar Upazila is 5, 87,041 and male-female ratio is about 54.2:45.8. Other side, the total population of Rangpur Sadar Upazila is 6, 00,240 and male and female ratio is about 52.17: 47.83. The economy of Rangpur Sadar upazila is predominantly agro-based. Most of the people are engaged in agriculture. The economy of Savar upazila is predominantly industry based. Many migrated people lives in Savar upazila, and most of them are Garments labour. Some NGOs are working in Savar upazila like VARC, VASD, CDD, CCDB, CRP BRAC, Asha, Proshika, Grammen Bank, Muslim Aid Bangladesh and so on. Several NGOs like Grameen Krishi Foundation, RRAC, Grammen Bank, RDRS, TMSS, and Asha are functioning in Rangpur Sadar upazila[MTI5] .
Necessary data and information for the study have been collected from primary and secondary sources. The social survey method has been used to collect primary data using a semi-structured questionnaire. There are two sizes of questions: open ended and close ended. We have selected 120 people through purposive sampling who are conscious about the activities of TIB. Student, teacher, politician, journalist, government officials, NGO representative and lawyers were selected as respondent. Apart from that, observation method has also been followed by the researcher. Both qualitative and quantitative analyses of the collected data have been made.
Figure-1: The percentage distribution of the respondents by occupational groups.
Source: Field Survey, 2012
Figure-1 demonstrates that out of a total of 120 respondents, 21% respondents are student which is the highest figure of the population. Moreover, other respondents include journalist, govt. officials, politicians, lawyers, teachers and NGO representatives of 17%, 13%, 12%, 8%, 17% and 12% accordingly. Occupation represents diverse professional groups.
Figure-2: The percentage distribution of the respondents by age groups.
Source: Field Survey, 2012
Figure-2 illustrates that out of a total of 120 respondents, 33% respondents belong to 40-49 age group, while a lower percentage (13%) of the respondents belong to the age group of 30-39. The others percentage of the respondents are 29% and 25% who are 50+ and 20-25 year olds accordingly. So, the people of all age groups are included in research areas.
Figure-3: The percentage distribution of the respondents by educational groups.
Source: Field Survey, 2012
Figure-3 illustrates that the graduate level of education is the highest, while S.S.C level of education is the lowest in the respondents. The figures are 43% and 2% respectively. Moreover other respondents are H.S.C, post graduate and Ph.D and they are 16%, 33% and 6% respectively.
Figure-4: The percentage distribution of the respondents by gender groups.
Source: Field Survey, 2012
It can be found that out of a total of 120 respondents, 64% respondents are male whereas 36% respondents are female. Gender is a significance factor for social science research. In my research, gender balance is established.
Corruption Reduction Through Awareness Building Activities of TIB at Local Level
Committees of Concerned Citizens (CCCs)
Strongly key pillars of the TIB’s work are the CCCs which are local (District, Upazilla) level organized Watchdog groups against corruption. The CCCs are formed of dedicated, committed persons; they are highly credible and acceptable in the local level. When the committees are composed they draw up their own programme priorities and yearly plan of works and TIB ensures the technical and financial support in implementing the programmes.
Besides, different anti-corruption awareness activities, CCCs are usually kept importance on public on public service delivery institutions like education, health, police, local government, land administration and so on. In total 45 CCCs have been working in various parts of Bangladesh. CCCs are implementing various activities in two categories:
a) Awareness and participation programmes;
b) Public service delivery institutions like health and education.
The long term objective of the CCCs is to establish accountable and transparent governance in Bangladesh at local level through greater transparency in public, semi-public, non-profit and private sector transactions and leading to gender sensitive and sustainable poverty reduction. The immediate objective of CCCs is to function as community watchdog forums for creating anti-corruption awareness and mobilizing citizens for participation in various anti-corruption initiatives.
Youth Engagement and Support (YES)
The young generation, mostly college and university students, brought together in a platform called Youth Engagement & Support (YES). YES groups are working for awareness, motivation and participation in various anticorruption activities. So, YES groups are other key actors in anti-corruption advocacy activities of TIB in local level. Members of the YES are committed to the values, mission and TIB’s code of ethics. The main objectives of engaging the CCC-YES are two-fold: firstly to create anti-corruption awareness and demand at the local level; and secondly to strive for specific results in selected areas of public service institutions, particularly, health, education and local government, through citizens’ participation and engagement of various stakeholders. The key mechanisms through which the CCC-YES under the Paribartan-Driving Change project strive to reduce corruption and generate accountability and transparency in selected service delivery institutions at the local level area set of social accountability tools and processes including citizens report cards, Advice and Information Desks (AI-Desks); mothers’ gathering, Face the Public (FtP); and people’s theatre.
Mother’s Gathering’ encourages mothers to play an active role in their children’s education. The objective of Mothers’ Gathering is to make mothers aware of the entitlements of their school-going children and be capable enough to raise their voice and place their demand to improve the quality of education and facilities that are necessary to create an environment that is conducive for learning. It is a social accountability tool which, in a participatory process, promotes disclosure and transparency in schools, reduces unauthorized payments for service provided by the school, and holds the school authorities accountable. It is also a useful process of woman participation and empowerment in the improvement of primary education.
Face the Public
Face the Public (FtP) is another social accountability mechanism applied by CCC-YES in promoting transparency and accountability of public representatives to the people. It is a platform that brings to the people an opportunity to ask the public representative’s questions with reference to the delivery against commitments made during election. FtP also provides the opportunity for other matters of public concern to be reflected in the priority of the public representatives. Face the Public is a tool to create an enabling environment for local citizens to raise their voice and place their demands to the elected representatives of local government institutions. FtPs are held complementary to the other interventions by CCC-YES such as Report Card, Satellite AI-Desk, community consultation etc. The specific objectives of the FtP are: raising local problems and demanding solutions/change; follow-up on commitments made by the representatives; future commitment from the representatives; sharing on rights and responsibilities of citizens; sharing challenges/limitations of the concerned authority and jointly discuss options; building relations and partnerships. Other activities complementing the FtP conducted by CCC-YES are: (1) Sharing meeting with UP body, (2) Baseline Survey and report sharing, (3) Satellite AI-Desk, (4) Setting up complain box and information board on basic entitlements, (5) Preparation and dissemination of information flyer (6) Staged Theatre Show, (7) Arrange Choose the right candidate Program, and (10) Citizens Report Card Survey.
Advice and Information Desks (AI-Desks)
People in developing countries often become victims of corruption because of lack of information about their rights and entitlement. Access to information is the key to empowerment through awareness and preparing the citizens to prevent and resist corruption, especially at the level of service delivery. With this realization Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has set up the Advice and Information Desks (AI-Desks) in the offices of its civic engagement forums called the Committees of Concerned Citizens (CCCs) in 45 different locations of the country with the objective of facilitating people’s empowerment through access to information. The main objective of the AI-Desk is to provide the people with access to information about their rights and entitlements, and thereby empower them so that they can stand up against corruption. The specific objectives of the AI-Desk are to:
a) Provide information and guidance to local people (on request) about their rights, entitlements and duties with particular reference to public service delivery institutions especially in education, health and local government;
b) Organize mobile information and advisory services (called Satellite AI-Desk) in public places, especially in schools, hospitals and local government offices to proactively reach out to the people with information and guidance;
c) Provide referral service to victims of corruption and other violations of rights in partnership with relevant organizations; and
d) Receive information and complains of corruption which are forwarded to the relevant authority for necessary action.
At the national level, the TIB conducts research and advocacy for institutional and policy changes. At the local level, TIB mainly works with formation of Concerned Citizens Committees (CCC) at various levels. These committees engage in awareness raising and social mobilization. TIB engages youth through YES (Youth Engagement and Support) campaigning activities. Advice and Information Desks are set up at hospitals, schools and local government institutions. Partnership and collaboration arrangements are expanded with organizations in similar sectors or in allied fields. CCC’s advocate for ‘Islands of Integrity’ in targeted local education, health and government institutions where corruption directly affects poor people to get basic services. CCCs negotiate with local authorities (district/sub-district officers, city mayors, rural government bodies) to sign ‘Integrity Pacts’ in order to institutionalize changes introduced and demonstrate their public commitment towards accountability, transparency and integrity. The project offers training, coaching and technical advice to the CCCs, YES and other organizations involved in the anti-corruption movement.
People’s theatre is one of the important items in the communication programme of TIB, used at local level, to inform the common people about the dimensions, processes and actors in corruption and implications thereof, and to sensitize and motivate the people for rejecting and resisting corruption. The theatre teams are comprised of young amateur activists who are working on voluntary basis with the CCCs. They are trained by TIB, following which they develop theatre scripts based on their own local experiences. The main purpose is to communicate the anti-corruption message and inform the people about their rights, responsibilities, and to motivate collective participation. The number of the group members is usually 15-20, mainly students of college & university. The theatre shows are normally held in public spaces – schools, hospitals, local government institutions, market places, often also combined with other activities such as mobile AI-Desk, mothers’ gatherings, FtP, day observance, etc. Each CCC has a People’s Theatre Sub-committee to supervise and support their activities. Following the success for theatre groups at CCC level, a new theatre group has been formed comprising of members of the Dhaka-based YES groups.
Access to information is considered as the touchstone of empowerment. Those who are in possession of information are powerful, while those who do not have the information are powerless. People are often victims of corruption because of lack of information and knowledge about their rights and entitlements as well as the range of services, rates of payment where applicable, grievance mechanisms, etc. From this perspective TIB has introduced a mobile advice and information service titled AI-Desk, usually provided to the service recipients in the premises of the relevant institution. Another complementary process in this connection is the street theatre and other cultural tools. The primary objective is to equip the service recipients with the information that helps challenge the prospect that corruption can be taken as a way of life.
Integrity Pledge (IP)
The IP, as introduced by TIB is a social accountability tool that involves a written but voluntary commitment signed by stakeholders – public representatives, officials and other service providers, informal groups of people as service recipients and citizens’ committees – where all parties make a pledge to work together and help each other to:
a) Prevent and control abuse of power for private gain;
b) Eliminate all forms of unauthorized payments, including bribery for services rendered;
c) Ensure and promote participation of service recipients in decisions that affect the content and quality of services provided;
d) Ensure transparency in public contracts and in implementing work under such contracts; and
e) Promote disclosure and transparency to ensure accountability in all related actions.
The IP is built on the premise that ensuring people’s participation in planning, design, budgeting, implementation and monitoring process of service delivery can significantly improve integrity, transparency and accountability, and thereby reduce corruption. It is a micro-level social accountability tool for partnership between all stakeholders, especially service providers and service recipients from the perspective of the latter as a stakeholder rather than only beneficiary. It involves empowerment of people through raising voice, asking questions and raising demand – all leading to accountability in a participatory process. It is also a process that mobilizes the community to participate in monitoring the quality of delivery of public services.
Citizens Report Card
The CRC is a tool to measure the degree of satisfaction of service recipients about the content and quality of service provided by a selected institution, particularly in education, health and local government. Service recipients’ response collected through a sample survey are triangulated with information collected through interviews and consultations with the authority, focused group discussions and/or key informant interviews. The findings of the CRC are released usually with the participation of the authority which serves the twin purpose of wider public information and awareness as well as engagement with the authority in efforts for follow-up initiatives. CRCs are an advocacy tool for improving the service quality at the delivery end within given resources and capacities. It also functions as a medium of building a working relationship between the service providers and recipients.
‘Impossible is possible’- it’s the main nature of youth. They are always conscious about the injustice of society and state paradigm. The language movement of 1952, the education movement of 1962, the six-point movement of 1966 and the mass upsurge of 1969, the liberation war of 1971 and all programs of pro-exploited people; the role of youth generation was very glorious.
Figure-5: Views of respondents towards Youth Engagement for awareness building of TIB
Source: Field data
Figure 5: shows that majority (62%) respondents believe that youth engagement is effective for awareness building to curbing corruption. They think that youth engagement will lead the country in future and rebuild the country. So, they should determine that they don’t attach the corruption, don’t compromise the corruption and don’t tolerate the corruption. TIB initiated anticorruption oath in various school and college and anticorruption concert for awareness building. They conversely believe that present youth generation affected by criminalization and violence. Their achievement in language movement in 1952 and mass upsurge in 1969 is abolished by their malactivities. They think that self determined youth should come in the curbing of corruption. In collaboration of Anti Corruption Commission and TIB ‘Jago Manush’ campaign have started in 2007 with the objective of the position anti corruption is not in educational and professional life in youth generation.
Seminar and Dialogue
Figure-6: Views of respondents towards seminar and dialogue for awareness building of TIB
Source: Field survey, 2012 by the author
Figure shows that majority (63%) respondents believe that seminar and dialogue of CCCS at local level by civil society and local representative should minimize the corruption at local level. Seminar and dialogue would make conscious the local representative and then they will make conscious in the mass people. Majority respondent believe that local representative is massively corrupted. When they talk about anticorruption in seminar, they don’t involve in corruption for shame. So, they come in reduction reduction of corruption indirectly. They think that some people in the society are paradoxical. They talk about anticorruption in seminar but in practical life they are massively corrupted. Basically our political culture affected by the autocracy and political criminalization and for that causes corruption entered at local level and our local leader or local representative are involve in corruption. TIB work in local elite at local level. They think that corruption is a holistic approach. So if we make conscious the general people, they elect the idle representative and then idle representative should come in the reduction of corruption at local level.
Debate and Cartoon Competition
Debate is a part and parcel of art. Debates teach thinking and make one logical. Lacks of logic, man grow up in moral less. Anticorruption cartoon competition flourishes the negative impact of corruption. This process corrupted person is alarmed and moral men contempt the corrupted person.
Figure-7: Views of respondents towards debate and cartoon competition for awareness building of TIB
Source: Field survey, 2012 by the author
Figure-7 shows that majority (58%) respondents believe that anticorruption debate and cartoon competition make conscious the population. They think, campaign inspires the educated person but those people are corrupted, they don’t comeback. Majority respondents believe that ethics is the key factor for corruption reduction. When ethics and morality grow up in population, they don’t involve the corruption and they go ahead anticorruption campaign. 32% respondents believe that anticorruption debate and cartoon competition make conscious population. They think corruption could not be reduced in one day. It is a continuous process. In this process, people should be conscious and they inspire other people to go ahead for anticorruption. About the importance of debate, former education board chairman stated that ‘debate is an art of life. Literature is not a temporary subject; it’s eternal. So debate is an eternal subject’.7 in my research areas, 10% respondents don’t support the initiative of TIB. They believe, whose person are conscious; they are conscious about own respects. And the person who are not conscious, they don’t possible in conscious building through anticorruption campaigning.
Right to Information Campaign
Information is power. Right to get information is a basic right of man. To know rights is prerequisite for institutionalizing of democratic system and to establishing the transparent and responsive government. Democratization and good governance is directly related to the right to information. Transparency and accountability is precondition for good governance and to attain good governance, to get free and open information is essential. Openness of information is a supplementary for reduction of corruption. Former USA President stated that ‘everyone knows that corruption thrives in secret places and avoids public places, and believe it is a fair presumption that secrecy means impropriety’.8 International anticorruption charter of UN enacted in 31 October, 2003. In UK, Freedom of Information Act-2005 started.
Figure-8: Views of respondents towards right to information for awareness building of TIB
Source: Field survey, 2012 by the author
At local level CCCs initiated the ‘information fair’. In our research areas, most of the respondent stated that initiative of CCCs at local level is very effective for awareness building to reduction of corruption. They think that closeness of information increased the massive corruption. So, peoples deprived to get their rights. General people always are affected the corruption, fraud and violence. They believe, if people know the proper information, they also known the responsibility of government officials and then government should take proper action for service delivery. They also believe, right to information act removed the corruption and they believe information is like oxygen for democracy. Information survives democracy and right to information is the key factor of all factor of democracy. In Bangladesh, right to information bill was passed in 29 March, 2009 and enacted in 1 July, 2009 for whole country.
From the above discussion; it can be said that, corruption is ubiquitous and multifarious. In this perspective, measures of TIB at local level for combating corruption are very effective. Most of the respondents believe that TIB’s activities at local level should be extended to form public opinion. They said CCCs activities (such as anticorruption seminar and dialogue, anticorruption youth concert, right to information campaign, mother’s gatherings and so on.) make conscious the people that reduce the corruption indirectly. It implies that youth are asset in future. So, youth will come forward to reduce corruption and they say ‘no’ to corruption; they don’t compromise with the corruption. In holistic sense, it can be said that the role of TIB[MTI7] in combating corruption at local levels is catalyst[MTI8] .
Amundsen, I., Corruption: Definitions and Concept, Chr. Michelsen Institute Development Studies and Human Rights, Draft-17, January, 2000.
Clarke, Michael (ed.), Corruption: Causes, Consequences and Control, New Delhi: Frances Pinter (Publishers) Limited, 1983, p. 22.
Daily Prothom Alo, 13 April, 2007.
Joseph, S. Nye, “Corruption and Political Development: A Cost Benefit Analysis”, American Political Science Review, Vol-6, No-2, 1967, p. 419.
Oxford English Dictionary, Vol-ІІ, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961, p. 1023.
Robert Klitgaard, “Strategies Against Corrution”, http://www.clad.org.ve/klit3.htm.p.1
Stapenhurst, Rick, Niall Johnston and Riccardo Pellizo (ed.), The Role of Parliament in Curbing Corruption, Published by the World Bank, Washington D. C., 2006, p. 119.
USAID. (2005, January). USAID Anti-Corruption Strateg. Retrieved April 18,2006 from http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/democracy_and_governance/publications/pdfs/ac_strategy_final.pdf
* Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Begum Rokeya University, Rangpur
[MTI1]Should call for substantial review of the entire paper in order to improve syntax
[MTI2]In order to measure the transparency of TIB, parameters to be set. Does it deserve substance to examine in this paper?
[MTI3]Good Governance to be flagged while defining corruption for conceptual clarity of corruption
[MTI4]At footnote, CCC has to be defined in order to make sure that readers are aware about it.
[MTI5]Corruption rate in Savar could be presented based on TIB report. I am not sure about the availability of Data. If available then it will enrich this section, without doubt.
[MTI6]Analysis of data stiupled in the figure-8 seems missing.
[MTI7]Role of TIB is adequate or not to be qualified and we understand TIB role to be expanded with new initiatives in reducing rate of corruption
[MTI8]In conclusion, youth and citizens interviewed to be highlighted