Author Archives: Guest Blogger

Framing Corruption: Do our frames limit our effectiveness?

Diana Chigas, JD, argues that the way we are framing the problem of corruption in fragile states is limiting our vision and leading us to ignore the key drivers to corruption. In particular, Diana discusses what she observed during her research in northern Uganda regarding reactions to the ‘moral frame’ through which corruption is commonly addressed. Continue reading

The Financial Journeys of Refugees: Charting a research agenda – Is corruption a relevant framework?

In this post, Roxanne Krystalli and Kim Wilson, who collectively specialize in financial inclusion, gender and violence, and research methods in vulnerable settings, discuss some of the emerging questions that their research has identified at the intersection of forced migration, money, relationships along refugee journeys, and corruption.

In March 2016, Transparency International mapped the ways in which corruption affects refugee journeys across the Mediterranean. Key points to consider included bribes to border officials and landowners to allow refugees to pass, the role of smugglers, the use of fake life vests, and risks of refugee coercion by formal authorities and smugglers alike. Transparency International concluded, “fighting corruption is critical for mitigating refugee smuggling and ending the conflicts which are driving people to flee their homes.”

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) further reinforces the view that the international community needs to fight corruption and “understand the intricate connections between corruption and refugee smuggling.” Continue reading

When Cows Facilitate Court, the Culture of Gifting and Corruption in Modern Courts

– In this post, Juliet Harty Hatanga, who has ten years of experience working with the Courts of Judicature of Uganda, discusses two cases in which the social norms of corruption and the culture of gifting challenged her ethics and training as a judicial officer. She argues that, despite the challenging cultural environment, it is well within the power of judges to make sure that justice is done – and seen to be done – at all times. –

In December 2006, I joined the Uganda public service as a judicial officer and was posted to work in Lira as a magistrate. At the time, most of the government infrastructure responsible for upholding the rule of law had totally broken down. I recall that most of the internally displaced people camps were beyond full capacity. The majority of people preferred to stay in the camps where they were assured of some form of protection from the Uganda Police, in spite of a government disbarment in the peace recovery and development plan program. Continue reading

Do Anti-Corruption Agencies Really Matter? Some Lessons on State Legitimacy from Indonesia

– This week in the corruption in fragile states blog series, researcher Sergio Gemperle questions the role of anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) in increasing state legitimacy. He argues that state legitimacy can suffer from ACA success, as well as from ACA failure. He shares Indonesia’s struggle between the KPK, the police and the government. Have you had similar experiences with ACAs in other countries or contexts? –

In the early 2000s, corruption regained prominence in development policy debates, culminating in the adoption of numerous international anti-corruption conventions such as the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. Henceforth, many countries established specialised anti-corruption agencies and expectations about their effectiveness were high. Continue reading

The Unhelpful Nature of Anti-Corruption Research; As seen by people trying to develop solutions

– Dr. Mark Pyman, who is deeply involved in efforts to reduce corruption in Afghanistan, pinpoints what frustrates him about anti-corruption research, in this latest post from the corruption in fragile states blog series. Few sector-specific approaches or insightful typologies of the multiple sorts of corruption within each sector, few analyses of sub-national variations, and an anti-corruption research community that is slow to move beyond diagnosis into treatment and politics. Continue reading to find some helpful treasures Pyman has found, and let us know if you share Pyman’s frustration, or if you have any great resources to add to the forum. –

A colleague asked me some years ago “Why is it that people working and researching in corruption seem only to enjoy showing how bad it all is? They seem to like nothing more than to ‘admire the problem’.” Sadly, this is also my experience, and I’d like to vent my frustration here: because this is deeply unhelpful to everyone who is trying to address the problem in each of their countries. Surely, researchers know more than just how to explain the problem? Continue reading

Your Donor is Not Evil

This week, Alex Snider, a Foreign Affairs Officer covering West Africa at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), discusses how, against all odds, donors and implementers can navigate flexibility, risk, and creativity to develop effective anticorruption programs. These actors balance one another’s constraints, offer complementary perspectives, and hold each other to high standards, he argues. This post continues our conversation about the donor-implementer relationship, and how both play a unique role in the development of anti-corruption programming.-

It would be bizarre if implementers looked kindly upon their donors. Yes, no one mourns winning a grant but the gauntlet of requirements it comes with can take a toll. Donor work plans are rigid but priorities and circumstances on the ground can change daily. Funding cycles are slow but demands for results are immediate. Continue reading

Who is Leading the Fight Against Corruption? A Review of European Bilateral Donors

-In this post of the corruption in fragile states blog series, Hank Nelson reviews which European Bilateral Donors have prioritized anti-corruption initiatives, and how they are fighting corruption. Finally, he reminds donors not to neglect funding the research that will ensure that their anti-corruption programs are effective. Next week’s post will supplement this review by offering tips on how implementers can best work with donors on the innovative approaches fighting corruption requires.- Continue reading