Corruption is among the most significant restraints on efforts to promote prosperous and healthy societies. Corruption’s impact is pernicious and inexorable. Bribes or kickbacks pry customs or procurement officials from the normal course of their duties, and before long the systems meant to protect are ignored and ineffective. Delegated public responsibilities become rent-seeking perches as police officers and soldiers sell their blindness to criminality, rending public trust in government, and undermining public safety. As it undermines licit economies, accountable governing, and democratic norms, corruption imposes on developing countries costly economic, political, social damage, retarding development efforts and sapping public trust in government.
Corruption is also among the most difficult development challenges to confront due to its multiple causal factors and the dynamics of its manifestations. This training session aimed to introduce participants to these manifestations and to key skills for parsing problems and context, thereby improving their ability to match interventions to problems in program design and implementation.
Day One was reserved for self-paced paced learning, during which time participants refreshed their understanding of the key corruption causes, issues, and manifestations in the countries in which they work.
Day Two comprised an overview of the issue of corruption, a broad “scan” of the world of anticorruption thinking, analysis, and programming. Content and discussion touched on a range of programming responses to corruption, thereby providing participants with a starting point for thinking about corruption and responsive programming in their country context. The course engaged crucial questions such as “what is corruption here,” “why does it matter,” and “how can I respond?” The course reviewed recent research relating to the costs of corruption, as well as case studies on means of combatting corruption. Lastly, Day Two provided participants an opportunity to practice what they learned. This program used in-person on-line (synchronous) presentations and interactive small group exercises. Participants emerged empowered with an improved understanding of the basic concepts and challenges. They learned to envision corruption as a complex phenomenon requiring holistic, well-grounded programming responses. Participants were challenged to develop anticorruption programming in hypothetical cases, based on real examples.
During Day Three, program officers and those with design and implementation responsibilities had an opportunity to continue their learning and dive deeper into methods of combatting corruption through better practices in public administration, civic engagement, and other types of corruption-aware programming. Participants learned specific ways of thinking about corruption program design and improvement. They were then tasked with an exercise during the break, using design concepts learned in the morning session. During the afternoon session, participants were divided into groups to workshop their ideas with subject matter experts from the Rule of Law Collaborative. Participants learned and practiced specific skills that will be helpful for them in their own assignments. Discussion and feedback helped participants see the “design” process as more fluid and begin to grapple with how to address obstacles and adapt programming during implementation.