The Popular Pushback Against Corruption

August 19th, 2011


Vietnam and the World Bank recently held the first Viet Nam Anti-Corruption Intiative, or VACI.  The Initiative encouraged the public—whether ordinary citizens, NGOs, or private business—to develop proposals to help combat corruption in their communities.  VACI then selected 34 promising ideas, and awarded a total of approximately $450,000 to help fund the implementation of these plans in the coming year.  It is hoped that this initiative will be repeated in 2013.

In order for pervasive corruption to be combated effectively, public support for anti-corruption initiatives is essential, and this year has seen people around the world taking a stand against graft in their societies.

The year began with ordinary Tunisians and Egyptians boldly casting out the corrupt dictators who stole their countries’ resources for decades.  Bribery reporting websites, such as (I Paid A Bribe), have become popular in India, China, and elsewhere.  I Paid A Bribe has seen over 12,500 bribes reported, totaling almost $7,000,000 (317 million rupees).  Now, the Indian public continues to take a strong anti-corruption stance, with students, Bollywood stars, and even Mumbai’s famed dabbawallahs, or lunch-deliverymen, have thrown their support behind Anna Hazare and his India Against Corruption movement.

The persistence of, bribery in the developing world, or tax evasion in countries like Greece and Italy, stem from the pervasive nature of the problem.  When people feel that corruption is just part of “the cost of doing business” or that they have no realistic alternative to resorting to bribery, it becomes intractable.  Programs like this initiative from the World Bank offer people in developing countries the resources they need in order to rid their societies of corruption.

VACI’s sponsored initiatives include seemingly basic elements, like educating members of the country’s Khmer minority about their legal rights and resources when dealing with corruption.  These basic tools are the first step towards empowering populations   With luck, this model of financing grassroots efforts towards transparency will provide a successful model to emulate elsewhere.

Written by Dan Hennessey

Follow @FinTrCo