The current, mainstream approach to anti-corruption work by the international community involves establishing a normative framework (such as the comprehensive United Nations Convention against Corruption) that details a set of recommended standards for countries to meet, requesting that countries ratify the framework, and assisting them in achieving these standards. The framework lists specific measures designed to help countries prevent and control corruption, such as the establishment of independent anti-corruption commissions, creation of transparent procurement and public financial management systems, and promotion of codes of conduct for public officials rooted in ethics and integrity, to name a few.
The World Region
I have just read a fascinating paper published by the Institute of Development Studies in the UK and written by Naomi Hossain. It is titled 'Rude Accountability in the Unreformed State: Informal Pressures on Frontline Bureaucrats in Bangladesh' [IDS Working Paper Volume 2009 Number 319]. The paper describes and analyzes what happens when poor peasants in Bangladesh are being poorly served by frontline service providers like doctors and teachers in an environment where the institutional accountability mechanisms do not work. So, what do these poor peasants do? They get angry and they show it. They speak rudely to these doctors and teachers who normally expect deference. They embarrass them. They get local newspapers to name and shame them.They even engage in acts of violence like vandalism. And their reactions often produces results, particularly the media reports. This is what Hossain calls 'rude accountability'.
infoDev and UNESCO have teamed up to sponsor a series of monthly on-line discussions on low-cost ICT initiatives for educational systems in developing countries. The debate for June is titled Mobile Phones: Better Learning Tools than Computers?
Is it true that the news media - when free, plural and independent - promote effective, responsive and accountable governance? Working with Professor Pippa Norris of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, CommGAP has produced a major study making the case for Yes as rigorously as we can. That study is now being prepared for the printers, and should be available soon. Yet there are times when I think; why do we need to go to great lengths to make what should be an obvious point?
This afternoon, I had the pleasure of sitting in a session on information visualization by Ben Shneiderman of the University of Maryland Human-Computer Interaction Lab. In his presentation, Shneiderman shared one of his mantras when it comes to visualizing information:
Overview, zoom & filter, details on demand.
Apologies for the lack of posts this week: I've been at the O'Reilly Where 2.0 Conference learning more about the geo-spatial web. Lots of neat things coming out of the conference, and I'll be posting more about them in the days to come, promise. In the meantime...
Every Friday — well, Saturday this week — I'm going to try and post a selection of the links from our delicious.com account so you can get a quick snapshot of what we're reading this week. Here goes:
At the end of last week's blog post I mentioned the new Educational Technology Debate web site sponsored by infoDev and UNESCO. Every month, this site will offer up a topic for consideration, and two discussants will stake out positions on (roughly) opposite sides to kick off what is meant to be a lively on-line 'back-and-forth' in the subsequent weeks. The first question for debate asks,