Civil Society and Anti-Corruption Advocacy
More often, civil society organizations, CSOs have been identified as non-state actors that have the moral power to engaged both state and business by compelling them to meet their obligations and respond to society common or basic needs.
The term Civil Society, CS with its broad groupings remain an active part of the society that we cannot ignore. Because state and charitable recourses no longer get to the citizens adequately, Civil Society Organization, CSOs have emerged, responding to this challenge as advocates and agents of a more just and caring society. Implicitly, they help to develop and nurture conscientious concern in the emerging global culture.
CSOs and Advocacy
As advocates and agent of change, the term advocacy has become synonymous with CSOs, charteracatamaraninthebvi involving wide range of activities, carried out by non-governmental organizations, NGOs. In a broad sense, advocacy can be defined as activism, campaigning or movement around a particular issue.
As a result of there actions over time, NGOs now impact policies as well as advance initiative which at a time was nearly an exclusive “rights” of government and coporations. NGOs humanitarian services have become vital role to the well-being of individuals and societies throughout the globe. In some identified areas, NGOs have proven record than government in service delivery and/or responding to particular needs.
Position of NGOs in Society
NGOs occupy a certain position in the society that makes them unique and special in their approach to issues and demand for accountability. If the first sector, which is public, fails in her service delivery, there is always a quick reference to support from the second sector, which is private. And where private fails in meeting her obligations, the third sector, which is the non-profit, where the NGOs operate readily, comes to support. However, the only sector that cannot afford to fail is the third – NGOs.
Anti-Corruption and Civil Society Organizations
In a very simple term, corruption can be defined as the misuse of public funds, office or entrusted power for private gains. Beyond this definition, there exist a whole lot of corruption activities. And the variation in scale results in a diversity of impacts. Chudi Okafor, a Senior Social Development Specialist with the World Bank once said in a 2003 interview with NGO Network magazine that corruption, poverty and leadership as related.
Anti-corruption effort by CSOs takes place on many fronts. But central in this is the need for good governance, which according to Jerry Pope of Advocacy Alert, “is the key to the fight against corruption”. Further he exposed that this role consist of eleven “pillars of integrity” made up of the following: bostonhaikusociety
e. Watchdog Agencies
f. Public Services
g. Private Sector
h. International Actors
i. Civil Society
Ironically, it was due to the lack of interest in the links between corruption and development among senior World Bank Staff in early “90” that propelled Peter Eigen and others to set up Transparency International, a CS movement that have transformed many advanced societies.
Though many CSOs, including media, faith based and community associations are daily engage in anti-corruption drive, NGOs have taken the lead in this fight, bringing about unprecedented vitality and ability to bear on critical issues on human rights and accountability which are often linked to good governance.
And because corruption in government circles is clearly at odd with many fundamental premises of civil, political and economic rights, NGOs flexibility and connections to grassroots communities aid them in mobilizing resources quickly in responding to the challenge. Quite often, their single-minded commitment, independence and strong motivation afford them a civic power that other institutions may lack. Today civil society advocacy on the fight against corruption are in many areas of human endeavors such as:
a. Human Rights
b. Conflict and Peace building
c. Democracy and,
Procurement, Accountability and NGOs
Though the term procurement in supply chain management is relatively a new concept in our anti-corruption efforts, particular in Africa, NGOs’ unique opportunities and exposure have availed them the needed skills to participate at quick notice, and advocate for a corruption-free procurement regime. However with more concentration on issues of budget tracking and electoral matters in the past, many NGOs may have missed out the real issue around Public Procurement Corruption (PPC). While the efforts of the World Bank is highly commendable for taking the initial proactive step in identifying the need for exposition in the direction, sho and for taking steps to educate the “ever-ready” NGOs on the new challenge facing the society, it is noteworthy to warn that it is only a sustained fight and continuous collaboration with CSOs that will help.
Recognizing the fact that procurement corruption is a hidden phenomenon in our quest for a transparent and corruption-free society, NGO unique opportunity, must be taken into consideration for the engagement process. Some of these opportunities include access to diversified funds, watchdog roles, understanding of the issues, advocacy skills, closeness to the people and as friends of the media.
Role of NGOs in Procurement Monitoring
As stated above, though procurement process is relatively a new concept in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, the role of NGOs in ensuring transparency, fairness, integrity and accountability in the practices cannot be overlooked. Essentially, NGOs have a responsibility to learn from the professionals or experts to equip them in address the issue creditably and to assist in transmuting same to the grassroots.