Learn & Adapt
An Outside/In Look at Participatory Democracy in Colombia. Listen now!
U.S. Democracy in the Spotlight
As the American presidential election draws near, with the prospect of a complicated election aftermath, the U.S. can benefit from learning from other countries. As part of our Outside/In series, we have been speaking to people like Sanjay Fernandes, Founder of SOLE Foundation in Colombia, about having structured conversations and productive dialogues to reduce polarization, key advice to improve current governance challenges in the United States.
We are hosting an event series with Open Gov Hub where partner organizations from around the world share their experiences addressing similar challenges relating to media polarization, crisis management, and identity politics, during and after election periods. After kicking off the series last week with a conversation on the media’s role in politics, the second event will occur this Thursday Oct. 22nd where participants will share case studies from recent election crises in Poland, Venezuela, and India, emphasizing their relevance to the current risks surrounding the U.S. elections. The last event focuses on identity politics and trust in governance, building on similar themes raised in Yeukai Mukorombindo and CIVICUS’s Masana Ndinga-Kanga’s Towards More Racially Just Societies: Learnings from South Africa.
Sharing Stories to Connect
We are no longer simply responding to COVID-19 as a sudden disruption: we are understanding how to live with it while addressing the pandemic’s long-term impact on nations’ economies, public education, and social inequity. As the learning partner in the Central African Coalition Against Kleptocracy consortium, which includes activists from Cameroon, Chad, Congo, and Equatorial Guinea, we are sharing personal stories that look at the enduring impacts of COVID-19 in countries where public resources have already been stolen by despots, with the aim of drawing public awareness within the region. We have also been sharing stories on how our partners have utilized the COVID-19 Fiscal Governance Database. In telling these stories, we hope to expand and strengthen the connections among our partners and communities.
Crisis as Spotlight
Times of crisis can shed light on the importance of utilizing publicly accessible data to address governance challenges and improve public service delivery to those most in need of it. Small Media’s Open and Shut series featured our work on the use of open data to fight corruption, showcasing Account4COVID and the COVID-19 Fiscal Governance Database. The Brookings Institute also wrote about our work with partners in Colombia and the importance of making data accessible and transparent to allow civil society and governments to craft stronger and more equitable policies around the extractives sector, with an emphasis on the connection between royalties and development projects in indigenous communities.
September’s FinCEN Files revelation, a documents leak that yielded insights on par with 2016’s Panama Papers, exposed the extent to which regulatory agencies turn a blind eye to documents depicting financial fraud and the negligence of banking institutions that do not follow up. GI-ACE researcher Jackie Harvey expands on this disconnect looking at the barriers to effective anti-money laundering policy implementation in Nigeria, while Gerhard Anders’ op-ed in the Premium Times questions the routine dismissal of top anti-corruption officials in the highest echelons of Nigerian, Malawi, and Tanzanian politics. GI-ACE congratulates researchers Liz David Barrett, Mihaly Fazekas and the Corruption Red Flags team for their first place win at the IMF Virtual Pitch Challenge this month. Their winning idea was the Corruption Cost Tracker, a tool that uses big data to analyze corruption risks in public procurement. To stay ahead of the latest GI-ACE updates, sign up for the newsletter.
Account4Covid will hold its third webinar in November building on previous webinars where we learned from current strategies employed by frontline leaders seeking to prevent COVID-19 corruption in their contexts. This webinar will focus on the socio-economic & political impact of COVID-19, exploring alternative strategies applied by civic actors working to ensure transparency and accountability in areas where civic space has been shrinking. We will also explore the impacts of the crisis on African economies and vulnerable groups, and how civic actors are informing prioritization and oversight of the government’s response and recovery efforts.
Johannes Tonn, our Director for Integrity & Anti-corruption, recommends Situating Open Data: Global Trends in Local Contexts, a book from Danny Lämmerhirt, Ana Brandusescu, Natalia Domagala, & Patrick Enaholo which provides very exciting framing to the question of how the open data (and really any data!) ecosystem is used, by whom, and to what effect is critical in order to better understand whether our — the field’s — efforts to enhance open data practices contribute to achieving useful outcomes (and who it is that defines these outcomes!).
Yeukai Mukorombindo, our Research & Learning Manager, recommends 1st Roundtable OGP Steering Committee Co-Chair Handover and Roundtable, a discussion from the 2020 OGP Virtual Leaders Summit where OGP leadership discuss their hopes for building back better democracies in a post pandemic world.
Raquel Rubio, our Director for Listening and Learning, recommends Nice White Parents, a podcast series from The New York Times that shines a light on the role white people play in perpetuating systemic inequities in the American school system.
Ambika Smarathya-Howard, our Communications Lead, recommends Gender & Danger, a piece from The New Ethnographer touching on the experience of being a woman working in field research, suggested by Dr. Heather Marquette, part-time Senior Research Fellow at the FCDO.