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Project Details

A crowd of people at an anti-corruption demonstration in Zimbabwe in 2013

Transparency International

Making bribery unacceptable across the world.

Project URL: transparency.org
Project Twitter: @anticorruption

  • Social Exclusion
  • Social Software

In 1993 Peter Eigen, a retired German World Bank official, decided to do something about corporate and political corruption around the world. Most people thought bribery was like the weather: you had to get used to it. The organisation Eigen created, Transparency International (TI), has changed the weather, all around the world.

Over the past 20 years TI has grown into a coalition of national chapters spanning more than 100 countries. Together they have brought corruption out into the open, measured its impact, influenced politicians and business executives, changed norms and rewritten laws, to make bribery unacceptable.

TI grew with the spread of the internet. It is a prime example of how the web can help small groups of people, operating with limited resources, to exert a huge impact on the wider world by building movements.

TI has used the web to change the terms of debate through an annual global index which measures the extent of corruption in 176 states, and the Global Corruption Barometer, a comprehensive public poll on attitudes towards corruption. The organisation has successfully lobbied national governments, corporations, trade associations and international bodies such as the United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, to adopt much tougher anti-bribery measures.

Most recently it has embraced digital activism directly, by enlisting civic hackers around the world to start building anti-corruption apps and web services. In Vietnam anti-corruption coders are looking into healthcare, and in Russia they are building tools to analyse income and asset declarations made by government officials and politicians. In Malaysia TI coders are planning a site to report illegal logging in forests.

TI is not itself a digital innovation, but by using the web in savvy ways, it has sped up its growth into becoming a movement with global reach and power.

Image 'Anti-Corruption Day 2013 - Zimbabwe' courtesy of Transparency International - Secretariat

Last updated: 09th of May, 2014

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