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Monitoring and Evaluation for Corruption Prevention PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kennedy Lweya, IMA International   
Thursday, 12 January 2006
IMA International concluded the year 2005 with remarkable success. A Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) course for corruption prevention was conducted from 12th to 16th December 2005. The course which was held in the conference room of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in Lusaka Zambia was delivered by two IMA International consultants and attended by 12 officers from the ACC, who were largely involved in various programmes aimed at preventing corruption, such as community education. Although all participants were new to M&E, the course was nonetheless highly successful in that by the end of the course, all the participants were content with the skills gained and looked forward to applying them in planning and managing their work. “The course has enabled me to not only understand the basic concepts of M&E but to gain the confidence in using the skills learnt to improve my job of community education in corruption prevention” remarked one participant.

The course also enabled participants to understand the fact that there is a correlation between corruption and poverty. As pointed out by Transparency International, “corruption causes poverty but also hampers attempts to reduce poverty because it, by and large takes away resources from poverty reduction efforts into the hands of a few”. As such where there is less corruption and good governance, countries reap the development dividend, which includes reduced infant mortality rates, improved literacy rates, increased per capita incomes among others.

Participants also saw that where the project cycle is not used for planning, implementation and management of projects, there are the following dangers: poor project design; projects planned that do not reflect beneficiary needs; risks not fully considered; long term sustainability factors not considered, and lessons learned not incorporated into new policy. They also agreed that monitoring was a continuous process throughout the project cycle in that it generates information that helps to track progress against plans and thus enables corrective measures to be instituted where activities are deviating from set plans. On the other hand, evaluation was seen as a periodic assessment of the project processes and interventions largely to draw out lessons for future courses of action and strategies.

The Logical Framework Approach, which could be regarded as the centre piece in the M&E “jigsaw puzzle”, provided participants with knowledge and skills in using a logical approach to project planning, monitoring and evaluation. The narrative summary of objectives; objectively verifiable indicators; means of verification, and assumptions were also learnt. As such, participants appreciated the importance of M&E and how it plays such an important role in tracking progress and enabling managers to take corrective action to ensure that organisational goals and objectives are achieved.

To assimilate learning and to use experiential learning to re-enforce the understanding of key concepts and techniques of M&E, a practical exercise was planned and conducted. This exercise was aimed at enabling participants to practice the use of tools for gathering data for corruption prevention. The main focus was on the use of Focus Group Discussion (FGD) as on of the diagnostic assessment techniques.  Participants were split into two groups. Group 1 conducted an FGD at Transparency International (Zambia) while Group 2 did the same the Public Service Pensions Fund (PSPF). The two groups did very well in the practical exercises. They produced reports - presented as case studies below – and which were presented in plenary at which feedback was given through role plays incorporating various stakeholders in corruption prevention. Overall, the training was a great success.
 
Other modules covered in the 5-day training included: Anti-Corruption Programmes and Poverty Reduction: A Case of Zambia; M&E and Development; Project Cycle Management; Preparing for Effective Learning; Stakeholders and Participation; Problem Tree and Planning for Corruption Prevention;  Logical Framework Approach; Developing Indicators from Objectives; Tools for gathering and analysing information on corruption prevention, and  Communicating findings to bring about change/M&E within the organisation.


CASE STUDIES ON FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSIONS


Case Study 1: “Preventing Corruption in the Rural Communities”

On 15th December 2005, following a theory and practical course on Monitoring and Evaluation course delivered by IMA International, a group of six participants visited Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) to collect information that would help them come up with strategies on how to prevent corruption in the rural communities in Zambia. The group facilitated a Focus Group Discussion (FGD). The goal of the FGD was so that there is a reduction in the prevalence of corruption in rural communities. The specific objectives of the FGD were: to contribute to the enhancement of quality leadership in rural communities, and to foster support in the prevention of corruption in rural communities.

According to TIZ, people in the rural areas accepted that corruption and that they have been practicing it as their normal way of life. People in rural communities think and feel that they have to pay bribes in order for them to get certain services either from government departments or the private sector. Therefore, it was noted that the rural population agrees to the fact that corruption exists and understands what it involves.

In terms of areas where corruption is most prevalent, it was generally seen that allocation of traditional land, public service delivery and the electoral process were among the prominent areas that were listed to be more prone to corruption.

Some causes that were alluded to as contributing towards the high prevalence of corruption in rural communities included; moral degradation on the part of the leaders and the communities, abuse of traditional authority, lack of decentralization of programmes and policies, lack of knowledge on the roles of Community and Civic leaders and their limits. Other causes were lack of accountability by service providers, poor calibre of civic leaders such as MP’s and also poverty.

The effects of corruption were generally said to be perpetuating of the already existing poor service delivery and lack of accountability in rural communities. It was also said that this has led to people continuing with corrupt practices without remorse.

The following strategies were suggested as a way of preventing corruption in rural communities and other geographical areas as well: (a) Lobbying government to train/induct civic leaders on professional ethics and accountability before they take up public office; include in the school curriculum civic education with a focus on inculcating in the students certain moral values in relation to the prevention of corruption. This would assist the country to develop a leadership that is responsible and accountable. The ACC is already working on this programme. (b) Implementing systems that would be comprehensive all encompassing such as the National Corruption Prevention Policy to address and improve public service delivery. (c) Sensitize the critical masses. (d) Carry out comprehensive research that would cover the entire country and whose results would be used in coming up with strategies or tools to prevent corruption. (d) Cultivate political will in the leadership which would in turn influence change in the legal system in order to benefit the rural communities. (e) Have a balanced approach in as far as the sensitization is concerned so as to address both the demand and supply (giver and receiver) sides of corruption. (f) Review of legal and institutional framework in order to strengthen operational systems.

The group appreciated the various strategies discussed towards the prevention of corruption not only in the rural communities but the country as a whole. However, it was felt that most of the strategies provided are on a long term basis other than what is needed to address immediate issues of corruption. It was also observed that the strategies need a committed and continuous funding system in order for them to be achieved. However, it was noted that short term measures in terms of expediting the implementation of the NCPP and sensitizing members of the public on corruption prevention should be embarked on.

Lastly but not the least, it was agreed that any strategies that would influence change should take into consideration the political will as well as institutional and the legal reform process.

 
Case Study 2: “Failure to Report Cases of Corruption”

This is a report of a Focus Group Discussion (FGD), which was conducted as part of the skills practice for Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) training exercise conducted for officers of the Anti-Corruption Commission. The particular exercise was on “Tools for collecting Data”. The training was conducted by IMA International.

Generally, it is perceived that there are low cases of reporting corruption to the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) by members of the public. It is against this background that a FGD was conducted at the Public Service Pensions Fund (PSPF) by a group of 6 ACC officers attending an M&E course. A total of five officers of the PSPF participated in the FGD including the institution’s Chief Executive Officer. The FGD was aimed at finding out why there was failure to report cases of corruption. The following were specific objectives: to determine how much participants know about corruption; to find out if corruption is a problem in the PSPF; to determine why PSPF staff members do not blow the whistle on corruption; to determine what mechanisms the PSPF management have put in place to facilitate the reporting of corruption cases, and to establish why clients fail to report cases of corruption. The deliberations were conducted in an open manner and took about 1:45 minutes.

All the five panel members from PSPF demonstrated a fair and reasonable level of understanding what corruption is and the practical ways in which it occurs. However, the understanding of corruption was more on bribery as opposed to other forms of corruption such as abuse of office.

The representatives felt there was no corruption at PSPF. They said the corruption that people talk about was nothing but mere perceptions. The participants said “secondary corruption” (where a third party might escort a retiree) and ask for a bribe is what could be taking place but this did not involve officers of PSPF.

The discussants said there is an official policy in the PSPF that encourages reporting of crimes including corruption. This is well publicised in leaflets and the institution’s newsletter including posters. There is also an open door policy for would-be whistle blowers and the CEO’s office is open to all staff regardless of their standing in the institution. The representatives also emphasised that they could easily report any other worker engaged in acts of corruption and indicated that the system offered confidentiality of those who report.

As regards their perception of whistle blowing by the general public, they noted that the fact that there were corruption cases in courts means that people are reporting acts of corruption.

The participants from PSPF felt the environment in the country was conducive for reporting corruption cases. However, there was a concern that people may fail to report corruption cases for fear of reprisals. Also, the panel members noted that some people do not want to be used as witnesses in court and this leads to people failing to report cases of corruption. They added that some cases take too long to be disposed of and this leads to other people failing to report cases as they do not want to be inconvenienced.

It was also observed that most people will only report cases when they are aggrieved and do not benefit from the transaction or when the transaction does not go as planned.

In conclusion, the discussion was successful in that it helped the representatives from the Commission to learn and know the extent to which PSPF staff understand corruption issues. In the light of the observations, the Commission has identified a need to provide further information to enhance the understanding of other forms of corruption. The shortfall in understanding could be a cause for their failure to report other forms of corruption e.g. abuse of office.


For More Information contact:
Kennedy Lweya
Training and Development Consultant
Kennedy@imainternational.com

IMA International
Randolphs Farm
Brighton Road
Hurstpierpoint
West Sussex
BN6 9EL, UK.

Tel: +44(0) 1273 833030    Fax: +44(0) 1273 833230
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