Combating corruption unlocks both democracy and development”, according to Julie Fisher, author of a forthcoming book to be published by the Kettering Foundation later this year called “Importing Democracy: The Role of NGOs in South Africa, Tajikistan and Argentina”. Fisher is also a contributor to “Combating Corruption: Political Corruption in Comparative Perspective”, forthcoming from Ashgate.
Most people understand, according to Fisher, that corruption undermines socio-economic development in poor countries. This is one reason why some international donors prefer to work through indigenous NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) that focus on development. What Fisher calls democratization NGOs, however, are even closer than development NGOs to the front lines of the anti-corruption battle. According to Fisher, Democratization NGOs understand that corruption undermines free elections, saps the independence of the judiciary and inhibits political participation. Worst of all, it destroys peoples confidence that anything can change.
The Institute for Democracy in Southern Africa (IDASA) works through the Good Governance Learning Network (GGLN), a coalition of fourteen local and national NGOs. The need for transparency is central to the collaborations between the members of GGLN and local governments, so GGLN uses an extensive checklist on municipal transparency, contract processes, whistleblower protection and citizen complaints to monitor corruption and increase local government accountability to citizens. In Argentina, an NGO called Poder Ciudadano (Citizen Power) works with seven provincial NGOs on corruption and participatory budgeting. Ejercicio Ciudadano (Citizen Practice) in Rosario has 40 volunteers who monitor the city councils budget as well as its meetings.
Fishers forthcoming book,” Importing Democracy: The Role of NGOs in South Africa, Tajikistan and Argentina”, will be published by the Kettering Foundation in 2012. It also contains an appendix that focuses on democratization NGOs in fifteen other countries.
Source : nomorecontrol