It’s a new year, and the fight against corruption goes on. It is tempting to feel discouraged, but if you thought there was nothing you as an individual could do, think again! Let 2016 be the year you stand up and say: “So far, and no farther.”
While the problem might be so deeply entrenched in the private and public workings of a country that people start thinking that corruption is “just a way of life”, be aware that every society, sector and individual will benefit if you say “No more” to this crime.
Remember, if people refuse to allow corruption into their lives, there will be no opportunity for the corrupt to carry out their illegal deeds – so you as an individual most definitely can make a difference by breaking the chain of corruption in your life, which will have a knock-on effect down the line.
Whether you’re a civil servant, a member of the media, a trade union member or official, a business person, an NGO worker, or an ordinary citizen, you CAN act against corruption, starting today! The benefits are better education, improved healthcare, a functioning justice system, enhanced development, strong democracy, and more prosperity for all.
What are you waiting for? Here are some great suggestions, courtesy of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), on how you can say no to corruption.
Everybody can fight corruption and:
- Strengthen democracy by educating themselves about the rule of law and what their government has pledged to do to fight corruption. Being part of an informed citizenry is not only vital to a healthy democracy, but it holds elected officials responsible for their actions.
- Promote justice by reporting incidences of corruption to the authorities. By coming forward, you not only stand against the corrupt, you also stand up for your community.
- Support education by teaching children that corruption is unacceptable. Parents can teach their children the value of integrity.
- Bring prosperity by refusing to pay or accept bribes, facilitation fees or gifts. Rejecting illicit rewards for work done or to be done sends a strong message, not only to those who would attempt to solicit favours, but also to those working with them.
- Safeguard development by telling elected officials that fighting corruption should be an integral part of all development policies. Reminding those you put in office that they represent you, your community and your ideals, at home and abroad, is not only your right, it’s your responsibility.
- Improve public health by demanding easy access to transparent healthcare information, for example on the services citizens are entitled to and their costs.
Access to basic healthcare is a right of every citizen. Knowing your rights and asking the right questions are all part of being a responsible citizen.