First published on Transparency International
International Youth Day, which was marked last week on 11 August, celebrated the potential and power of young people around the globe to help shape a fairer and more just world. Many young people are fighting corruption and making a big difference. And we celebrate all of you.
For those who are interested in tackling corruption, but don’t know where to start, here are 15 great ideas from Transparency International’s youth anti-corruption tool kit.
1. Follow the money
Governments have vast sums of public money to spend and this can pose a serious corruption risk. By keeping tabs on government expenditure, you can help shed light on how your country’s taxes are being spent and expose any abuses.
2. Count supplies
Schools receive lots of supplies from governments, like textbooks, lab equipment or other classroom necessities. It’s not rocket science to keep track of this. It just takes commitment and transparency. Ask to see how many Bunsen burners are supposed to be in the biology labs and if the numbers don’t add up – ask what’s happened.
3. Citizen report cards
Most people have an opinion of their government or the services it provides, but how often do they take the time to write down their views? You can help by collecting citizen report cards that provide feedback on public services by the people who use them.
An individual card might not seem meaningful in itself, but a collection of hundreds or thousands of completed cards can generate new perspectives on government performance – which can then be shared with media and used by the public to bring about change.
4. Tech solutions
If you’re tech-savvy, you can help communities document cases of corruption by developing reporting platforms on the web or through mobile apps. Social media, in particular, is an effective way to address corruption in real-time. See I paid a bribe – it’s a good example.
5. Comics and cartoons
Comics are a powerful way of raising awareness about anti-corruption. Through a combination of images and text, comics can also help spark debate – and they are easy to produce. All you need is a pen and paper.
6. Theatre and drama
You can get creative by taking your anti-corruption drive on stage. Music, drama, poetry or dance can be used to show citizens how to combat negative societal forces – like corruption – as well as give ideas about how to improve your own community.
7. Board games
Games are a valuable and fun form of education – even for serious topics like corruption. They develop knowledge, attitudes and values, and can be highly effective in encouraging teamwork and collective action.
What’s your favourite sport? From running against corruption to scoring a goal for transparency, you can raise your community’s anti-corruption awareness through any sport you want.
9. Youth groups
Youth groups share their disapporoval of corruption and are found at local and national levels. Different groups have different goals, but they have one thing in common: a willingness to talk openly about their opposition to corruption and raise awareness about its adverse effects on society. These groups can be formed to take part in a one-off event, around a single issue – stopping bribery for grades in school, for example –or for longer term campaigns.
10. Integrity camps
Fighting corruption doesn’t have to be serious business. With integrity camps you can get friends and peers together to take on corruption. Check out our annual School on Transparency.
11. “Zero” bribes
The “zero currency” note is a visual aid that encourages people to say “no” to corrupt officials who demand a bribe and to expose where and when bribes are demanded. The concept originated in India where it was known as the “zero rupee” movement and has proved to be a formidable tactic in fighting corruption.
Here’s how it works: when asked for a bribe, you “pay” with a bill that resembles real currency but is actually fake paper money that includes anti-corruption messages.
Protest events are a way for citizens and groups to come together in public to show large scale support for or opposition to a particular issue. Protests, marches, demonstrations and rallies can be a powerful tool for anti-corruption campaigners.
A petition is a collection of signatures from people supporting your cause. That petition is then presented to decision makers – like government or education officials – that have the power to create the change you want. We have a good example at Transparency International. We petition people to sign our Declaration against Corruption.
14. Election pledges
Politicians may be running for office – but they shouldn’t be able to hide. During the lead-up to elections, candidates are in the spotlight and this is a good time to hold them accountable for their campaigning and election promises.
You can ask your local candidates to sign a pledge against corruption or agree to take specific steps to stop corruption. They can, for example, pledge not to buy or sell votes during the election, a very common form of corruption.
15. Crowd sourcing election monitoring
Tweet. Text. E-mail. From accessing your mobile phone to surfing the web on your computer, it’s never been easier or quicker to monitor elections in real-time. Through online crowdsourcing you can let the world know of voting irregularities in your country with just a few clicks. Some of the information can even be plotted onto an interactive map online, allowing you also to see what others in your community are reporting.
We hope you find these 15 suggestions useful! If you want specific details on how to make any of these ideas a reality, download our anti-corruption toolkit.
If you have more suggestions that are not already on this list, we could love to hear from you!