Perceptions of corruption continue to rise around the world. From discouraging foreign investment to destabilising social values and undermining democratic institutions, corruption affects everyone.
As part of its effort to improve local service delivery and empower local communities, The Hague Academy, from 8 to 23 May, welcomed 19 practitioners and officials from Indonesia for a tailor-made training titled, Community Development for Anti-Corruption.
Through a diverse programme of presentations, workshops and field visits, the 12-day course sought to promote local governance best practices and provide insights into improving public participation to combat corruption.
But how do you convince ordinary citizens of their roles and responsibilities in combatting dishonest conduct by those in power?
The participants tackled this question head-on during a field visit to RNTC, a media training institute in Hilversum. The workshop on 19 May and led by former journalist and RNTC Trainer, Ginger de Silva challenged participants to rethink their communication and outreach strategies. Participants learned about the essential elements of persuasion and storytelling and participated in a radio-broadcast debate.
“There’s an emphasis on putting theory into practice,” said Ginger. “We want you to take risks, hone your message and make the audience care about that message.”
This was particularly important for the participants who support and respresent the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). Formed in 2002, KPK serves as Indonesia’s main agency tasked to fight graft. In recent years, the scope of its work has expanded along with the violent threats and attacks against its leaders, investigators and personnel. These terror and intimidation tactics have affected the anti-corruption movement in Indonesia.
Indonesia ranks 90 out of 176 countries on the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index
For musician Robi Supriyanto, this presents a unique challenge. The self-proclaimed ‘rebel with a cause’ uses his music to engage communities and youth in cultural anti-corruption campaigns and programmes. “We want our citizens to make a difference [in the fight] against corruption, and to do so we have to blend our modern and traditional cultures,” said Robi.
“For example, in Bali there is a saying ‘thinking good, speaking good and doing good.’ But what’s missing is the relationship between this saying and our approach against corruption. If we uphold this sense of tradition, then we can bridge this gap.”
In the Asia-Pacific region in particular, more than 900 million people have paid bribes to access public services in the past year according to the anti-corruption organization Transparency International. And although the effects of corruption in Indonesia have been especially evident, the tailor-made training designed by The Hague Academy illustrated that committed and driven practitioners can enact positive change.
“We learned first-hand experiences through everyday interactions in the Netherlands,” said Aldy Sigit, KVK campaign specialist and co-organizer of the group’s trip to the Netherlands. “Taxi drivers, local officials, community leaders and every-day officials, showed us that anti-corrupt norms can be established.”
For The Hague Academy, combatting corruption and its corrosive effects will remain a top priority. In 2019, the Academy will once again offer an open-subscription course – Integrity & Anti-Corruption – in a deliberate effort to continue to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure more effective and inclusive governance trumps prejudice and exclusion.
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