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New Tactics in Fight Against Corruption Include Crowdsourcing, Mobile Games and SMS

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, April 9 2013

Transparency International's logo.

Transparency International has awarded grants to its chapters implementing new solutions in their anti-corruption activism – from playing a game to learn about corruption to sending a SMS to report an incident. The projects emphasize increasing public awareness and in most cases rely on individuals taking initiative.

In November 2012, Transparency International Zimbabwe launched a SMS mobile and web based platform that allows users to report corrupt activities such as bribery or cheating in real time. In a country where Internet penetration is less than 12 percent but mobile phones are widely used, the SMS platform supported by basic phones makes the tool accessible to most Zimbabweans. According to kubatana.net, messages are forwarded to the Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre, a public service initiative providing free legal aid services to victims and witnesses of corruption. The Centre will analyze the data and “take appropriate steps to assist clients.”

Transparency International Macedonia actually started their citizen-reported corruption database in July 2011. Last year they partnered with Ushahidi to create a visualization of corruption in Macedonia. Citizen reporting has resulted in 121 investigations in which 37 of the allegations have been verified to date. In the analysis of their anti-corruption work they emphasize the importance of processing the reports with due diligence, displaying the information, through Ushahidi, as accurately as possible, and safeguarding the identities of the people reporting.

Anti-corruption work in Indonesia is also zeroing in on the outcomes of corruption reports. Transparency International will be implementing a tool to monitor ongoing anti-corruption court cases. The tool is meant to counter the public’s widespread distrust of the judicial system.

Sometimes activism has to go to the most basic level: education. Transparency International Hungary's implementing new programs designed to educate youths about corruption. During their 2012 Anti-Corruption Festival they sponsored a competition to create apps that help young people connect with anti-corruption issues. The winning app drew attention to the adverse effects of corruption through storytelling. They are currently developing two mobile games – one titled Cheat or Starve - that will educate players about corruption.

The Engine Room has outlined 11 of these new initiatives, most of which have yet to be implemented, and included details on how interested parties can get involved.

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