Impacting Policy to Fight Corruption in Vietnam

Traditional Vietnamese fairy tale of bribes given to cat to facilitate mouse wedding.

Traditional Vietnamese fairy tale of bribes given to cat to facilitate mouse wedding.

MSI’s DFID-sponsored anti-corruption project in Vietnam recently funded a grant to local research institution, the Center for Community Support Development Studies, to conduct a nationwide survey of formal household businesses focused on their experiences with corruption.

In Vietnam, small household businesses are pivotal for economic growth. They are significant job generators providing nearly 80% of jobs in the country. Many properly register with the government and pay their taxes, but they typically fall prey to corrupt practices when seeking to register, obtain licenses or pay their taxes. The survey found that corruption related to tax matters was more prevalent than in licensing or registration, but generally, businesses perceive corruption as the norm in conducting their operations. They are prone to extortion by the authorities, as well as guilty of collusion with such authorities to promote their businesses.

The Agency for Business Registration in the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment is currently drafting a new decree on business registration with a section related to the registration of household businesses. They want to generate the new regulations while reducing opportunities for corrupt transactions.

The Agency reached out to our anti-corruption project when they heard about the nationwide survey. The Agency plans to use the survey to guide its regulatory drafting and reduce the impact of corrupt practices.

The project also supported the implementation of a new public construction law by drafting practical regulations for the Vietnamese Ministry of Construction. Vietnam sought out our project to provide other countries’ experiences in implementing such laws after participating in the international Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST), a multi-stakeholder governance approach designed to promote transparency and accountability in publicly financed construction. Our expert, who was formerly a member of the CoST Secretariat, worked closely with a group of Vietnamese construction consultants to interview stakeholders throughout the country to identify transparency and accountability problems they have encountered. These were compared with problems experienced in our countries and resulted in a new set of regulations that have bee adopted by the Ministry.

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments closed

Celebrating May with Mexico Successes

campaign-logo-final-fbWe’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo all month long by introducing a new mini-campaign with a spotlight on our past and present Mexico projects. Follow our success stories throughout the month of May on this page, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.







Day 4: Bringing Best Practices to Mexico’s Judicial Reforms

Nuevo Leon criminal procedure courtMSI’s USAID-funded project in Mexico helps create a more open judicial system. By providing them with workshops and training sessions, Mexican legislators become equipped with knowledge on legislative methods and procedures. They can then implement their newly found skills and techniques to build a more efficient system.

As the head of CEAMPAJ, an agency in Puebla that worked to improve the Mexican judicial system, lawyer Luiz Francisco Fierro was tasked with drawing up Mexico’s criminal code as part of its transition from a closed, inquisitorial justice system to a new, more open adversarial system. This was a formidable task for one person to do, without even the budget for it. With technical assistance from our USAID-funded project, he could go back and improve his efforts on creating the criminal code, and then go on with others to restructure all of the bodies involved in the judicial system. “Thanks to USAID’s expertise, guidance and suggestions, we now have a modern, workable package”, says Fierro.

Day 3: Mexico’s New Criminal Justice System and Advanced Techniques for Public Defenders

public defenders 2Through MSI’s USAID-funded project, our experts trained Mexican public defenders on the workings of its landmark justice reforms in 2008. Without the implementation of the new legislation, innocent people who found themselves implicated in a crime scene could face severe charges under the previous inquisitory criminal justice system.

This could have been true of young Anton, who seemed to have been drunkenly fleeing a robbery. Instead of being unjustly convicted, USAID-trained public defender Patricia Moreno used her improved interview, litigation and forensic evidence gathering techniques to prove Anton’s innocence. Her strengthened skills and the more open court allowed the young man to be freed and provide for his family. With more courses from USAID, Moreno is motivated to also train her peers to operate in the new system.

Day 2: Building Support for Women’s Justice in Oaxaca

art2pic1In Oaxaca, MSI’s USAID-funded project trained Mexican officials to strengthen the services and facilities of the Women’s Justice Center. By training staff on the rights of victims under the new adversarial system, and the methods to provide them with emotional, psychological, legal and employment assistance, they can provide women who come to the center with the support they need.

Ms. Ileana Araceli Hernandez, Deputy Attorney General for the state of Oaxaca, and her staff received this training and fortified the Women’s Justice Center’s organizational structure. As a result, when Ms. Rosa Perez came to the center after being brutally raped by an uncle, she felt that she had a place to turn to and received the help that she needed to recover. The center could provide her this support effectively through well-organized, systemic procedures to ensure her rights were protected according to the new adversarial system.

Day 1: A Better Future for Youth of Morelos

UMECA programIn Mexico, teenagers are filling up the overflowing prisons. Now with the help of the Pre-Trial Services Unit for Juveniles (UMECA) set up by the Government of Morelos with technical assistance from our USAID-funded project and the Open Society Institute, they are provided with emotional support and therapy. Instead of being trapped in a cycle of prison, they are given a chance to build their futures and contribute to society.

As a 16-year old Juan Pablo, held a pessimistic outlook on life and couldn’t find a way out of his drug habit. After developing trust with his supervisor in the UMECA program, Juan felt he had a place to seek help, instead of facing jail yet another time. With the support of his advisor, he enrolled in a USAID-supported local organization that works with troubled youth, to learn to live healthy and drug-free.

Did you see our previous post on MSI work on pre-trial detention in Mexico? Take a look here.


Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Sharing Our Story

sharing-our-story_thumbnailHere at MSI, we’ve embraced infographics as an innovative and effective tool for displaying our research and results. Words, images and numbers are combined to visually tell a complete story that sorts and arranges complex data.

For the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing some of our best infographics from past years. Follow along on this page and on our other social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.



Day 8: USAID/Jamaica Community Empowerment and Transformation (COMET)

Continuing a focus on animation as an effective way to sharing our story, we incorporated this GIF that was created for the USAID/Jamaica Community Empowerment and Transformation (COMET) project documentary. This brief animation brings to life our scaling up approach — visualizing the impact of improved community/police relations spreading countrywide.

Click on the GIF to check out an excerpt from the video focusing on scaling up, and be sure to visit our Scaling Up site.



Day 7: Tatweer’s Human Impact

At the conclusion of a project, statistics can tend to be abstract and intangible for readers removed from the work. In many cases, statistics can be made more interesting through animation. The animations below were produced as part of the final Tatweer video’s documentation of the project’s approach and results. Tatweer provided comprehensive support to critical Iraqi ministries and government offices in the form of technical assistance and specialized training.

Tatweer-Animated-Graph_for-social-media Tatweer3-Animated-Map_for-social-media

Day 6: The Road to Children Reading in Pakistan

Pakistan-EGRA-infographic-thumb5We completed the largest early grade reading assessment (EGRA) ever as part of our USAID Pakistan Monitoring and Evaluation Program. Through many obstacles, we succeeded in building local capacity and testing over 31,000 school children on their reading. The findings will support the long-term measurement and improvement of early literacy in Pakistan. Key stakeholders help inform our findings and recommendations to determine impact, inform future USAID programming, among many other things. Check out the infographic to see our journey.

Day 5: E3 Analytics and Evaluation Project

E3-analytics-eval-projectInfographics provide the creative opportunity to bring reports to life by illustrating specific areas like highlights and results. Here is an example from the 2014 Annual Report of the E3 Analytics and Evaluation Project, which supports USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment. The infographic supplies geographical reference points for particular project activities throughout the period of support.


Day 4: Scaling Up Development Projects Worldwide


Good ideas are not enough. Scaling strategies need to include strategies for changing one or both of the only two platforms that can deliver solutions sustainably at scale – markets and governments.  MSI has spent the last 12 years fine-tuning methods and tools to improve scaling up strategies, and this infographic brings together the scaling up story through video, podcast and published material. Read more about our work on Scaling Up here.

Day 3: MSI Works to Simplify Doing Business in Iraq

business-registration-in-IraqFor the third day of our “Sharing Our Story” campaign, we thought we’d highlight one of our favorite infographics. All infographics should present information visually, but the really good ones are often metaphors for the story they’re trying to tell. In Iraq, entrepreneurs and business owners would have to go through numerous steps and hurdles to register their new businesses. Under USAID-Tarabot, our team partnered with the Government of Iraq to simplify the process, helping more Iraqis contribute to their economy. Where this was once like a game of Chutes & Ladders to register a new business, often leaving the registrant where they started off, the streamlined, one-stop shop approach provides a shortcut to becoming a business owner. The icing on the cake was adding interactive elements to provide a rich media experience though photos, videos and relevant resources.

Check out the interactive infographic that we made to illustrate the stark difference between the old and new ways to register a business.


Day 2: Mainstreaming Gender into Our Work

2015-3-30 Gender infographic 2To commemorate the end of Women’s History Month and the celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, MSI is proud to present an infographic on our approach to mainstreaming gender in monitoring and evaluation work. The infographic illustrates how gender is considered and included at every level of the monitoring and evaluation process, not just in the final report.

For more information, listen to a podcast where Technical Director Betsy Bury and Jennifer Mandel, Senior Advisor for Evaluation for our USAID-funded Monitoring and Evaluation Project in Pakistan, discuss how gender is incorporated in the Pakistan M&E Project. To learn more about our gender work, click here.


Day 1: USAID/Zambia – Local Partners Capacity Building Program

home-zambiaFrom 2008 to 2013, MSI worked as a sub-contractor to FHI360 to strengthen the organizational capacity of civil society organizations on the front lines of fighting HIV/AIDs in Zambia through the Local Partners Capacity Building Program or LPCB . Zambia has one of the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world. In the final year of the project, MSI producer Noah Wilderman traveled to Zambia to help capture the project’s results as project participants talked about the unique work of their organizations and the project’s impact. Participant’s enthusiasm about their progress was not hard to find.

This interactive infographic uses a stylized map to share the project overview video as well as a few of the stories that were captured with our local partners in various parts of the country. Through the infographic format, the graphic is able to share these colorful stories and provide a basic overview of the project, it’s implementing partners and funding donor organizations.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

An Innovative Approach to Combating Corruption in Indonesia

We recently caught up with MSI’s Juhani Grossmann, who gave us an update on the USAID-funded SIAP 1 program in Indonesia. The project strives to build sustainable, good governance in Indonesia with an emphasis on social and visual platforms. MSI works with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in organizing an Anti-Corruption Week that features events, exhibitions and workshops which promote building awareness and understanding and calls for the community to take a stand against corruption.

In the video, Juhani discusses the 2014 Anti-Corruption Film Festival as well as workshops organized around last year’s theme of citizen journalism. For more information, check out USAID’s Success Story featuring SIAP 1 and the third annual ACFFest here.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments closed

Partnering to Support Youth Leadership

Earlier this month, MSI, the Qatar Foundation International and National Youth Leadership Council trained 34 young leaders and 14 educators from around the world to help them better understand community service learning. Youths from as far as Brazil, Hawaii, and Qatar competed for limited spots to attend the program held in Washington, D.C. We were invited to lead workshops about project management and policy change.

As part of our workshops, MSI’s Hisham Jabi and John Fluharty engaged the participants in activities and conversations to demonstrate how their ideas could be transformed into policies to invoke change worldwide. Conversations also focused on how project management can support policy implementation. Participants reflected on issues about which they are passionate and developed plans to create policies and projects to execute them.

“These youth are not the leaders of tomorrow, they are leaders of today,” said Jabi. “We were thrilled to partner with the Qatar Foundation International and National Youth Leadership Council to offer meaningful lessons on service learning to today’s young leaders, as well as inspire the next generation of leaders.”

Across our 30 year history, MSI has been working with and on behalf of young people worldwide. We incorporate a holistic approach that seeks a direct and positive engagement of youth in the development process, empowerment of families, communities and institutions connected to young people, and prioritization of youth needs across diverse sectors, including health, education, governance and economic growth.
QFI Post 1_300x200QFI Post 3_300x200QFI Post 2_300x200

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed