Corruption story from our Isfit ambassador

Our Isfit ambassador from India, Soumya Jindal, has shared her incredible story about corruption with us.

Read it, and please share your story as well. How does corruption affects you?
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Anti Corruption: the movement begins!

 ‘Corruption’ is one of the few things that link the diverse world together in a great way. It is universal; it exists in all countries, both developed and developing, in the public and private sectors, as well as in non-profit and charitable organizations. It has been in the society, for as long as one can think, perishing it, ever so slowly. It is an amazing fact, then, that Corruption has not until recently been considered as a matter of major significance.

Corruption is viewed differently in the views of different people. The underlying causes of corruption remain poorly understood and widely debated. Research on the causes of corruption is compounded by the difficulties inherent in disentangling the effects of social norms from the effects of legal enforcement. Specifically, societies that collectively place less importance on rooting out corruption, and thus have weak anti-corruption social norms, may simultaneously have less legal enforcement. Understanding the real causes of corruption is of central importance in reforming economic and social institutions: if corruption is predominantly norm-based, interventions that focus exclusively on boosting legal reforms will likely fail.

In India, Corruption is synonymous to Politicians. It is believed that money and corruption are ruining the land, crooked politicians betray the working man, pocketing the profits and treating the citizens like sheep. However, this is not an entirely correct approach. The question that should be raised here is that even if the politicians pledge to cleanse the system and resist temptation, can a change really be brought about?

Even though the people long to be honest and live in a corruption-free world, the irony remains that they themselves give into corruption on trivial matters. Everyone has at some time been tempted to give or accept an inducement to act in a way that does not conform to ethics and law. Most people have given into that temptation on occasion, even if only very rarely and in small matters. Wherever there are transactions that offer the opportunity for personal advantage or profit someone, somewhere will take advantage of that opportunity. Corruption can be such a part of life that citizens of a badly corrupt country may scarcely imagine that it can be reduced or eliminated. Are we condemned to accept corruption, however much we hate it?

Corruption can be a major obstacle in the process of economic development and in modernizing a country. Many now feel that it should receive priority attention in a country’s development agenda. This greater recognition that corruption can have a serious adverse impact on development has been a cause for concern among developing countries. In a recent survey of 150 high level officials from 60 third world countries, the respondents ranked public sector corruption as the most severe obstacle confronting their development process. Corruption also strengthens and encourages bad governance. Law becomes taken for granted, human rights are not respected, accountability and lost and transparency declines as corruption increases. Corruption leads to the depletion of national wealth. It is often responsible for increased costs of goods and services, the funneling of scarce public resources to uneconomic high profile projects at the expense of the much needed projects such as schools, hospitals and roads, or the supply of potable water, diversion and misallocation of resources, conversion of public wealth to private and personal property, inflation, imbalanced economic development, weakling work ethics and professionalism, hindrance of the development of fair in market structures and unhealthy competition there by deterring competition. Large scale corruption hurts the economy and impoverishes entire population. In Social sphere, corruption discourages people to work together for the common good. Frustration and general apathy among the public result in a weak civil society. 

Corruption exists in all countries it is more widespread in low income countries. This is not because people in poor countries are more corruptible than their counterparts in rich countries. It is simply because conditions in poor countries are more conducive for the growth of corruption. Bribery and graft are crimes of calculation and not of passion. Hence, when benefits are large, chances of getting caught are small, and penalties when caught are light, then many people will succumb.
The conclusion once can infer here is that Corruption is the enemy of development, and of good governance. It must be got rid of. Both the government and the people at large must come together to achieve this national objective. In a state where corruption abounds, laws must be very numerous. Laws can be effective only when they are backed by powerful professionals and a determine youth.
The youth is one such section of the society that has the moral duty of challenging corruption and also has the power of giving a boost to corruption. It becomes important in such a case to educate and aware the youth about Corruption and its allied activities. The Youth needs to understand that since corruption has been a part of the way of living for so long, it cannot be completely eliminated. However, it can be checked and brought under control so that the bad effects are minimized.
The truth is that the fight for justice against corruption is never easy. It never has been and never will be. It exacts a toll on our self, our families, our friends, and children. In the end, the price we pay is well worth holding on to our dignity.

Corruption has its own motivations, and one has to thoroughly study that phenomenon and eliminate the foundations that allow corruption to exist.
Paul Struges, in his paperwork, CORRUPTION, TRANSPARENCY AND A ROLE FOR LIBRARIES, believes that uncorrupted politicians and civil society campaigning bodies propose a variety of approaches to the problem of corruption. Institutional reform, powerful legal sanctions, and the creation of regulatory bodies are amongst the types of approach that appear in anti-corruption programmes. Forming an essential part of all of them, is increased transparency.
There may seem to be little, but societies do change and the direction of change can be for the better if the goodwill is there.

Corruption kills livelihood. It is the need of the hour to join the voice of Anti-Corruption. Millions of people are dying due to wars, famines and calamities because another million seek profit everywhere.

Soumya Jindal
International Ambassador, ISFit

ISFiT World Tour Guatemala #4 Q&A

I asked the students in Guatemala City if they could help me answer some questions. Each question was based on the workshops of ISFiT 2015, and the overall theme was corruption. Here are some of the answers! 

Feel free to comment and give your answer. 

1) What is corruption?

Corruption is an illegal behavior that goes against the judicial order and values of the society, it creates big problems in the society which later will affect the whole nation.

Corruption is a world wide problem, it is people who put there own interest above others and abuse situations and persons. It goes against the norms, laws, moral and rights in a country or place.

Corruption is an activity that has a negative impact in the society. It is frequently not punished by law, this is because so many corrupt people are involved in the judicial system.

2) How can education be a counterweight to corruption?

Good education in schools and universities show the students the importance of honesty and good values, which in the future might help people avoid falling into corruption.

Children should be educated from an early age so they learn the difference of right and wrong, in that way will they be able to make correct decisions in the future.

Education is the root that has to be planted to gain the best development.

With an academic education will people aspire more in life than to earn money. The most important is to learn moral and ethics from an early age so people understand that ones act doesn’t just affect one self, but everyone around you.

3) How can we use art to spread awareness of corruption? 

Young people are today more interested in visual information, so maybe through dancing or work of art can they get to know more about corruption. 

By making advertisement about corruption to make people reflect about the issue. 

4) How would you use a camera to tell a story about corruption?

I would take photo’s of the people who are working in the government, because there is a lot of corruption here in Guatemala. An other way could be to take pictures of all the poor people living in the villages, this will show the extreme inequalities between the rich (10%) and the poor (90%).

I would have taken pictures of the corrupt people, on each photograph would I have written a story telling the truth about that person. Or, I would take pictures of  the living conditions in corrupt countries to show the reality.

5) How can young entrepreneurs find support for their ideas without being corrupt? 

It is important to have a good mentor, today there also exist a lot of support programs and social networks where one can launch and exchange ideas. 

Schools and universities should have motivating campaigns for new ideas and support their students and their work in order to avoid corruption and concrete action points.

6) Is democracy the solution to fight corruption? Why / Why not? 

Yes, because it’s the best way of creating an order against corruption, but only if really implemented.

Yes, because democracy in justice, and justice is the opposite of corruption. 

7) What defines a suitable host for the olympic games, the world cup etc?

One should look at the economic situations and needs within in the country. There should not only be a voting, but also be a prior analysis regarding the investment costs needed.

8) What laws should be obeyed when businesses are crossing national boarders?

Both international and local actors must respect the same laws, so that the local producers will not be outmaneuvered.

9) Is corruption a third world problem? Why / Why not?

Yes, because it stops the development in a country, it doesn't do anything good to people. 

I do think so, but not only the third world, it affects everyone everywhere. 

Yes, because in countries with high welfare people don't see it as necessary to do illegal stuff to survive.

10) How can fighting corruption reduce poverty worldwide?

Through education will children learn about the good sides in life, and they will learn that war, injustice and corruption is no good.  

Through having honest politicians, who don’t use the system in their favor, might fight the organized criminality and create a better and more balanced society.

11) How can corruption in healthcare systems affect the global health? 

In each country where corruption is current, can one see an effect on the health system. Because the taxes that was meant to be used on health goes in someone else’s pockets. The local effect corruption has on health care, will always have a global effect.

- Kristine

ISFiT World Tour Southeast Asia #6 Singapore

Monday the 26th of May
Tuesday the 27th of May

Early Monday morning we left Jakarta and dived into a completely different country; Singapore.

Today's mission was visiting the National University of Singapore and meeting Yew-Ming Yeap, a student from Nanyang Technological University. He took us to dinner and told us about the student life in Singapore.  We were to learn that Singapore is all about rankings and attracting brain power, which in practice means giving out scholarships so bright students from abroad can study in Singapore. Yew-Ming Yeap, who is Malaysian, is among these students.

Yew-Ming Yeap, Elise and Marius 

Tuesday we got to see a bit more of Singapore, which is a clean city where pretty much everything is the tallest/ biggest/ newest something in the world. It is also a very clean country, and easy to travel in, because you do not have to worry about your behavior. On the walls in the subways there are several prohibitions signs that clearly states what you are not allowed to do, like having a sip of water on the subway.

Marius in front of some of the many famous buildings in Singapore; Marina Bay Sand Hotel and the ArtScience Museum, inspired by a Lotus flower. 

Singapore is also a Mecca for banking. The country itself is very transparent. On Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index from 2013 Singapore ranks as the 5th most transparent country in the world, together with Norway. The financial system promotes start up business and investments, and the taxes are low.

Inspecting the banks in Singapore

Our host for the night was Steven , a participant at ISFiT 2009, who told us about his ISFiT-experience and shared ideas on both Singaporean politics and ISFiT with us.

Marius, Elise and Steven

- Elise 

ISFiT World Tour Guatemala #3 Trade Your Ideas

At the bottom: International ambassadors, Varinia to the left and Gerardo to the right


ISFiT World Tour Guatemala #2 First day in Guatemala City

Finally in Guatemala!  

Two wonderful international ambassadors (and a dog) have given me the warmest welcome! Varinia picked me up at the airport, introduced me to the local food and brought me to the city center for a walk. Gerardo invited us for dinner with his parents and siblings, and I was finally able to practice my Spanish again. Varinia and Gerardo have introduced me to both the struggles and good sides of their country, and I am very excited to learn more about Guatemala tomorrow. Varinia works for the Autonomous Sport Confederation of Guatemala and I will join her for work tomorrow and talk to some of her colleagues.  Maybe they have something interesting to say about corruption in Guatemala? Later Gerardo will take me to the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, where I will visit campus, meet the students and listen to their ideas.  

Hasta pronto

- Kristine