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

The Idea of Business and Peace: “Assuming the Can Opener”

– In this post, Ben Miller, an expert on corporate social impacts in fragile and conflict-affected states, argues that current discussions of private sector peacebuilding overlook almost entirely the practical problems that companies frequently experience as they try to avoid adverse social impacts. As negative impacts commonly generate or fuel conflict, their absence from the discussion raises fundamental questions about that discussion’s practical utility for companies and policy makers seeking to establish a role for companies in peace efforts. –

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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

Finding My Way Around the Corruption System with a Map: Mapping the Effects of an Intervention and Extending Systems Mapping to New Areas

Peter Woodrow is the Executive Director of CDA Collaborative Learning Projects. For nearly a year, Peter has accompanied the Kuleta Haki project providing support to our local partners (RCN J&D) on using systems maps as an analytical tool for better understanding corruption dynamics in the criminal justice sector. In April, Peter shed some light on this process, and updates us now on how both the tool, and techniques for facilitating these types of workshops, have developed since his initial engagement.

For the past year and a half, we at CDA have been working with local stakeholders and partners to develop a strategy for combating corruption in the criminal justice system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). After completing a broad national level analysis of corruption dynamics, the project focused on Katanga Province in southeastern DRC. As discussed in other blog posts, the main approach has been to establish a local network of people, including judges/magistrates, lawyers and others dedicated to promoting change in the system of corruption in the local criminal justice sector. Click here to see the theory of change for the project. Continue reading

Where Should the Feedback Function Sit? Determining the Institutional Location for the feedback function

-If we want to see change informed by local feedback, what elements are vital? While perhaps less ‘sexy’ than real-time SMS feedback channels, the decision on where to anchor your feedback mechanism within your institution has a significant impact on its effectiveness and your ability to utilize the data it generates. This blog traces CDA’s evidence regarding the institutional location of feedback systems, and provides questions for practitioners seeking to strengthen their accountability mechanisms and processes.

Anyone working on improving accountability and feedback loops these days has undoubtedly engaged in discussions about innovative, technology-based feedback channels, the role of local partners and the aspiration to place the affected people at the center. While all these dimensions hold merit in advancing effective accountability practices, we need to ask ourselves: if we want to see change informed by local feedback, what elements are vital? Continue reading