Afghan anticorruption efforts receive financial boost with UN grants

23 October 2008Three Afghan civil society groups working to combat corruption in the fledgling democracy will be able to boost their activities to promote accountability and transparency thanks to grants being provided by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Integrated Approaches for Community Development, Integrity Watch Afghanistan, and Saba Media Organization will each receive grants of up to $50,000 to carry out activities in the areas of monitoring, awareness-raising and capacity development, media and access to information, and training on anti-corruption and ethics.The grants are provided through UNDP’s Accountability and Transparency (ACT) Project’s Accountability and Transparency Grants Facility, which seeks to complement anti-corruption activities carried out by the Afghan public sector.The Grants Facility was set up “to encourage the active involvement of civil society and media in the fight against corruption,” said Manoj Basnyat, UNDP Country Director for Afghanistan.The ACT Project is working to facilitate broad public awareness and education initiatives on the complex issues of corruption and to engage more civil society actors and local think tanks in this process.Among other things, it is designed to support the Government in developing a broader anti-corruption strategy, as well as raise awareness and educate civil servants on the scourge.The Afghan Government has taken a number of steps to combat corruption, including becoming a State Party to the UN Convention against Corruption, adopting new anti-corruption legislation and establishing a new anti-corruption body. At the same time, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, has noted that corruption must also be tackled “from the bottom up” with the people, Afghan civil society and the media having a crucial role in supporting Government efforts.According to a recent survey by Integrity Watch Afghanistan, the average Afghan household pays an estimated $100 in petty bribes every year – this in a nation where around 70 per cent of the population survives on less than $1 per day. read more