Using Fun and Games to Fight Corruption

Corruption in Ukraine is one of the country’s most widespread challenges affecting almost every facet of society, from health care, to transportation to education. In 2017, USAID selected MSI to implement its Support to Anti-Corruption Champion Institutions (SACCI) Project to support the government in targeted interventions across local and national levels.

SACCI recently participated in USAID’s “Mistechko” public outreach event in the city of Kryvyi Rih to discuss corruption and anti-corruption tools with citizens in a series of lively activities. The event was attended by over 600 local citizens. SACCI, along with its partner, the EIDOS Center for Political Studies and Analysis, designed three activities for the event to engage attendees of different age groups.

“Anti-corruption Mini-Debates” were enjoyed by adults who competed for prizes. Participants received complex questions on anti-corruption and responded with three answers, while EIDO analysts commented with information to increase their understanding of the topic. Some questions focused on current medical reform and the High Court’s ability to tackle high-level corruption.

SACCI also designed a magnet puzzle, “Charge against Corruption,” to teach children about corruption in a fun manner.

Finally, an interactive survey was given on “Which spheres have you faced the most corruption in?”

These activities contribute to the project’s overall goal of raising citizen awareness of corruption and working with champion institutions across the government to address it effectively.

MSI intends to continue highlighting anti-corruption issues via citizen engagement by participating in forthcoming events in Mykolaiv and Kramatorsk in September 2018.

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MSI Leading Critical Thinking on Scaling Up for Development

MSI is at the forefront of the conversation on helping to scale up successful development approaches, which could help to provide health care and education, for instance, on a wider scale across the globe. 

Larry Cooley, President Emeritus of MSI, and Jonathan Papoulidis, Executive Advisor on Fragile States at World Vision, coauthored an article on the importance of applying a scaling up approach to confront vulnerabilities in fragile states. The piece, featured in the flagship journal for the Society for International Development, Development, builds on MSI’s widely used framework for scaling development outcomes.

“Meeting the need for widespread, tangible and sustainable progress in fragile states is the standard by which our generation of development actors should be judged”, Cooley writes. To read the full article, click here.

Cooley and Papoulidis cite a number of examples to support the view that scaling-up approaches provide a valuable foundation for changing the piecemeal, one-off, and often non-strategic character of aid programs in fragile states.

MSI also recently convened representatives from 55 organizations – official donors, foundations, think tanks and NGOs – for the third annual convening of the Global Community of Practice on Scaling Up Development Outcomes. The session included presentation of new tools for scalability assessment; agreement on guidelines for monitoring and evaluation of scaling; tools for scaling through commercial pathways; a new framework for scaling in fragile states; and shared insights from experience scaling outcomes in education, health and agriculture.  At the conclusion of the event, Larry Cooley, who serves with Johannes Linn as curator of the Community of Practice observed, “it was quite extraordinary to see how far these discussions have progressed in three years”.  

Click here for additional information on MSI’s scaling up approach.


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Advancing Youth Economic Livelihoods in Lebanon

The Syrian refugee influx has exacerbated the lack of resources, adding pressure to already-strained municipalities. Lebanon’s North and Beqaa regions host some of the country’s most economically vulnerable communities. Within this tense and often challenging environment, MSI’s Lebanon Community Resilience Initiative (LCRI), funded by USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, strategically partnered with local actors in the border area of Wadi Khaled. The goal is to provide idle and unemployed youth with skills and networks to help them re-enter the job market, reviving depressed areas deeply affected by armed violence.

Our project’s first partnership was with the well-established NGO, Naseej Committee, in Wadi Khaled.  It enabled them to train some of the most at-risk youth on marketable skills, such as cell phone repair, and life skills such as conflict mitigation and entrepreneurship.

Marginalization of Lebanese youth in light of the Syrian conflict has been a major driver of tension in the community; many Lebanese beneficiaries have felt a sense of unfair competition resulting from vocational trainings provided for Syrians. For this reason, we took the initiative to design activities that ensured interventions did not marginalize either group – setting our project apart from other programs.

The results have been impressive.  Seventeen of 30 youth participants were generating income by the end of the project.

“I was so desperate, considering to be a suicide bomber to secure money allowing my family to have a decent life, but thank God I came through this opportunity before committing anything that would have shamed my family for all their lifetime,” said one 24-year old Lebanese male participant.

“I was about to give up on myself,” said a Syrian participant whose family of 12 fled to Wadi Khaled when the conflict started. “This project has allowed me to support my family while working from the [refugee] shelter. It made me realize that I can make a difference even with the minimum resources I have.”

MSI’s LCRI project aims to strengthen the ability of Lebanon’s most vulnerable communities to cope with the destabilizing effects of the Syrian conflict by strengthening youth empowerment and civil participation, promoting peaceful alternatives to violence, reducing the isolation and marginalization of communities, and supporting moderate actors.  

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Helping Partners in Lebanon Combat Environmental Challenges

Lebanon is a country rich in biodiversity. Its complex eco-system has spawned a growing awareness of the value and importance of environmental preservation. The spillover from the civil war in Syria, however, has had a profound impact, and has resulted in the over-use and degradation of its natural resources.

The resulting buildup of frustration and tension was most dramatically exemplified by the garbage crisis in 2015, which led to massive popular protests.

While Lebanon’s civil society is considered among the most vibrant in the Middle East, the efficacy of its civil society organizations (CSOs) to help meet these increased demands or influence decision makers has been limited.

MSI’s USAID-funded project, ‘Building Alliances for Local Advancement, Development and Investment – Capacity Building” (BALADI CAP), is working to help CSOs and municipalities assist the government address the negative impact that these demands are having on public services and the environment.

One such example is T.E.R.R.E. Liban, a small family-run CSO dedicated to the creation and implementation of environmental preservation and education projects since 1995.  This organization has carried out valuable work, including cleanup of beaches along the Lebanese shoreline, and promoting the importance of recycling in schools.  However, it was unable to have long-term impact and financial sustainability.

Through its participation in our project’s intensive 2-year program, T.E.R.R.E. Liban has strengthened many organizational procedures, and conducted long-term strategic planning for the first time in its history. As a result of its strengthened capacities, it is now a key leader in the environmental and solid waste management movement, and has been able to turn individual and fragmented programming efforts into sustainable achievements with national impact.  It has also positioned itself as one of our legacy institutions to continue to lead advocacy efforts after project close-out in 2018.

BALADI CAP has worked with more than 50 civil society organizations to build capacity through training and other support, particularly in the areas of internal governance, financial management and monitoring and evaluation.

To learn more about our work in Lebanon, read the story, “U.S. Ambassador Recognizes Lebanon Community Resilience Initiative

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Explore Anti-Corruption Day 2017 in Indonesia with an Interactive Graphic

In Indonesia, International Anti-Corruption Day has historically provided the opportunity to engage with citizens about the subject of corruption, and government accountability and transparency. Building off MSI’s prior work in Indonesia, MSI’s latest USAID-funded project, known as CEGAH (meaning prevent in Bahasa), has provided crucial support to the government, since May of 2016, to combat corruption and promote accountability. The project’s activities address all facets of corruption, building on previous USAID investments and empowering reformers throughout government.

Enjoy this interactive graphic providing a glimpse at some of the numerous activities that took place over three days for International Anti-Corruption Day 2017.  

Interact with the FULLSCREEN graphic.

ALSO…Enjoy the EXPOSURE STORY about MSI’s support to International Anti-Corruption Day 2017 in Liberia, Lebanon, Mali and Ukraine.

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