Speeding, scaling, and sharpening:
A year in the life of Global Integrity
Over the course of the last year, governance challenges have deepened in many countries, north, south, east and west. More positively, citizens’ protests against corruption and for urgent action to address the climate emergency have captured headlines, if not just yet the policy agenda of many governments.
For Global Integrity, 2019 was a year in which we ramped up our work on anti-corruption, with the Global Integrity Anti-Corruption Evidence (GI-ACE) research programme getting up to full speed in its efforts to catalyze fresh thinking to inform efforts to tackle corruption.
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It was also a year in which the Open Gov Hub model began to scale, with support provided for an emerging global network of affiliate hubs in Albania, Liberia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Tunisia, as well as for our long-standing sister hub in Nepal.
And, it was a year in which we took stock of our work, sharpening our strategy around the overall goal of supporting and strengthening the ability of governance reformers and change agents to address corruption and improve the use of public resources.
Making progress toward these goals is never easy; shifting power, shaping incentives, and translating protests into policy seldom is. And there’s no doubt that 2020 will be another challenging year, not least in the United States, where Global Integrity is based. But with a sharper strategy, new partners and funding, and a strengthened team, we are excited to play our part, providing support to those on the frontline of addressing corruption and bad governance and informing the international agenda.
For more on our work on open government, integrity & anti-corruption, and public-service delivery in countries including Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Nepal, and the United States, please read on!
In line with the evolution of our strategy, 2019 saw us actively supporting the work of partners addressing governance-related challenges around the world. In line with our multi-pronged theory of change, learnings from work with in-country partners also has been the basis for our work encouraging champions of transparency and openness to consider more explicitly whether and how the corruption and misuse of public resources—and the power dynamics and incentives that drive those problems—can be addressed through data-driven cycles of action and learning.
- In Colombia, we collaborated with Transparency and Accountability Initiative (TAI) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) to host workshops with national and subnational stakeholders to validate and refine emerging results and recommendations from our joint assessment about the availability and usability of extractives data. This assessment will inform our support of local efforts to use extractives data for accountability.
- We organized and facilitated an Executive Sessions workshop with Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Investment (CCSI) to explore how different approaches to applied political economy analysis can help practitioners make progress toward more effectively tackling corruption in the extractive industries and resource-rich countries; explore the role power, incentives, and interests play; and brainstorm ideas about how to change, amend, and complement existing anti-corruption approaches.
- We worked closely with TAI and two Nigerian partners—Public and Private Development Center (PPDC) and Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA)—to craft a shared learning agenda, through which we are collectively exploring the effectiveness and results of different strategies for engaging citizens, media, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector in the use of data for accountability and anti-corruption efforts.
- Our Follow the Money initiatives in Mexico and Colombia led to the launch by CSOs of platforms on public procurement in Chihuahua and Cozumel, and on budgets and citizen perception in Bogota.
- We kicked off a new project working individually and collectively with members of the Central African Coalition Against Kleptocracy, a multistakeholder coalition of anti-corruption activists in central African countries, to identify how to more effectively tackle kleptocracy. Since an initial workshop held in September 2019 held to design a theory of change and light-touch MEL framework, efforts have concentrated on making progress on implementing the resultant strategy, including development of messaging and online platforms to test whether this sort of grassroots engagement can be an effective lever in fighting kleptocracy.
- The 7th Annual Africa Integrity Indicators were published (and the 8th round launched), providing indicators useful as a practical entry point for research, advocacy, and action. Data collected as part of this project feed into the Ibrahim Index fo African Governance and the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators. Findings this year reflected an independent judiciary under threat, bypassing of public procurement guidelines, and a crackdown on the publication of information.
- This year saw the launch of the Global Integrity Anti-Corruption Evidence (GI-ACE) research programme, with researchers from the 14 supported projects coming together for an inception workshop in January, and workshops focusing on stakeholder engagement (key to the GI-ACE Theory of Change) mid-year. The 14 projects have been conducting field work, training sessions, desk work, randomized controlled trials, and other research activities over the course of the year, with early outputs and regular blogs posted to the GI-ACE website. Over the course of the year, GI-ACE had a number of high-profile engagements, including presenting at the OECD Integrity Forum and providing evidence before the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.
The Open Gov Hub exists to be the most dynamic possible meeting place, bringing together resources, organizations, and ideas for shared impact. In addition to expanding our member network to more than 350 people from 50 organizations, 2019 was marked by several special initiatives, including the following:
- Formalizing the Global Affiliate Hubs Program, with the goal of supporting Hubs’ sustainability and increasing our individual and collective impact through peer learning.
- Launching Open Gov Stories – A Global Podcast Series, featuring more than 20 episodes (recorded in 8 countries) exploring why leaders in the Open Government field care about changing the world.
- Publishing the 2nd Edition Guide to Great Events, with free resources to help improve the quality of convenings.
- Launching the Defending Democracy website, concluding the two-year Defending Democracy: Lessons from Around the World program in conjunction with the Sunlight Foundation. The program, supported by a collaborative seed grant from the Omidyar Network, sought to highlight lessons from experiences in countries around the world that could be applied to the U.S. democratic context.