Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia - Tajikistan


Direction/Category

Anti-corruption

Location

Khuroson, Khatlon State, Tajikistan

Dates

January 1, 2013 – March 31, 2013

Budget

19,370 USD

Donor

The Canada Fund

Partners

NGO Marifat

Problem Statement

Most of the work concerning anti-corruption work in Tajikistan is instigated by international actors operating in Tajikistan. International organizations tend to focus chiefly on changing legislation, formal procedures and official practices. However, beyond this top-down approach, the question of citizensattitudes toward corruption needs to be addressed. Less attention has been paid to spreading awareness and shaping the attitudes of people on the ground, including local business owners and young people.
EFCA-Tajikistan identified two main issues regarding corruption that need to be addressed:

  1. Small businessesinvolvement in corruption. The World Bank provided a comprehensive survey on business in Tajikistan which highlights corruption as one of the biggest obstacles for a free and open business environment. Small businesses are as prone to requests for informal payments as those bigger businesses with more money. 

   2.     Citizensattitudes towards corruption. As part of its “Increasing Legal Literacy in Tajikistan” program, EFCA-Tajikistan has issued a questionnaire to 250 people in different regions of Tajikistan. One of the questions was: “You are asked to bribe someone, how do you react?” The first results highlight a fatalistic attitude towards corruption with most of the respondents answered “Reporting the incident will not make a change in the system” or “I accept it as there is no other solution.” Also, UNDP-Tajikistan recommended focusing more on the grass roots of society to complement the top-down efforts already in place with bottom-up grass roots advocacy campaigns. EFCA-Tajikistan believes that a fresh focus on young people (who are Tajikistan’s future) is crucial in order to instil an ideology of non-corruption amongst the general population. Work has been done on this topic. However, such few isolated projects aimed at spreading awareness and anti-corruption ideas among the Tajik population will not bring forth a lasting change. Thus, EFCA-Tajikistan recommended conducting targeted projects in very specific geographical locations, such as this project, under a wider-umbrella of corruption prevention. 

Approach/Methodology

The program engaged a set of community-mobilizers who would in turn engage a larger community in anti-corruption efforts, both when it comes to changing the attitudes of people and also to provide simple but tangible means for people to battle corruption in their community.
•    First, over a three day period, six community-mobilizers were trained in anti-corruption legislation and practices. They were simultaneously trained in techniques for instructing others on these topics. These activities built their necessary skills to conduct a large scale advocacy campaign in Khuroson district.

•    Over three months community-mobilizers conducted an advocacy campaign in their own townships (jamoat) by visiting high schools, youth centers and other public places. They distributed more than 6,000 posters and booklets to sensitize local people to issues relating to corruption. To complement the changes through attitude-changing work, the community-mobilizers encouraged people to come and report incidents related to corruption.

Outcomes

The program aimed to change people’s attitudes toward corruption in the Khuroson district.
Activity 1: Selection of six community-mobilizers
Activity 2: Community-mobilizers trained in anti-courruption
Activity 3: Advocacy Campaign
Activity 4: A weekly corruption-reporting surgery.

As specified in the proposal, the six community-mobilizers conducted advocacy campaign in their own Jamoat and they reached more than 60% of local people (as expected).

However, the program assumed that 20% of local businesses will report corruption-related incidents to the weekly corruption-reporting centre. This did not occur as expected because people fear reporting. Therefore the corruption-reported mechanism was modified namely it became an informal and anonymous instrument used by community-mobilizers during advocacy campaign efforts. Also, the district is one of the poorest of Tajikistan, the business sector is very limited and consequently very few businesses were involved in the program.

Key Figures

•    400 people directly reached in Khuroson district (distribution of books and calendars); about 300 people reported to the community-mobilizers unwanted incidents related to corruption; and about 2,000 indirectly reached (close relatives/family members of those directly reached);
•    About 500 people directly reached across Tajikistan (distribution of books and calendars) and 2,500 people indirectly reached (close relatives/family members of those directly reached); 
•    Three-day training sessions conducted; five topics covered (identification of corruption, knowledge of legislation, awareness of actions to undertake, ToT and how to conduct an advocacy campaign);
•    Six community-mobilizers (three men and three women) received direct training. Based on pre and post-training tests, their knowledge of corruption has improved:
•    Ability to identify corrupted practices (from 50% to 100%)
•    Awareness of actions to undertake when corruption is identified (from 34% to 83%)
•    Knowledge of legislation (from 17% to 83%)
•    EFCA-Tajikistan hired a local expert, Azimzhon Sayfiddinov to produce a book on corruption and focusing particularly on procedures to undertake to fight against corruption in Tajikistan. This book was the first of its kind in Tajikistan. 500 copies were printed and more than 200 distributed in Khuroson district and 250 copies given to the National Agency for Financial Control & Fight Against Corruption.

•    In addition, 1,000 calendars were printed. The contact of anti-corruption agencies was written on calendars so that people will be able to continue to report corrupted practices. More than 200 copies were distributed in Khuroson, while 250 copies given to the National Agency for Financial Control &Fight Against Corruption. Furthermore, EFCA-Tajikistan decided to extend the geographical scope of the program by distributing calendars to all of its NGO partners across Tajikistan (more than 200 copies distributed).