Fighting corruption in Mali by celebrating honest civil servants
Mali has been plagued by corruption and poor governance since independence. Things have gotten worse since its 2012 coup and fractured 2014 peace, with continued graft slowing the fight against terrorism. Government anti-corruption efforts have repeatedly failed: laws are insufficient and enforcement is weak, and bribery and abuse continue to slow growth and erode trust.
Kondo founded and runs the Mali chapter of the Accountability Lab, a U.S.-based nonprofit that promotes public accountability in six African and Asian countries. Rather than condemning corrupt leaders, it works to boost the influence of their honest counterparts, running grassroots “Integrity Idol” campaigns to celebrate their good work. Communities nominate local civil servants, and the Lab then profiles the top five on TV. The movement reaches a broader audience, as viewers across the country vote for their favorite candidates. It also runs in-country incubators to train and mentor “accountrapreneurs” who launch their own accountability projects. Kondo, a journalist, started Mali’s Lab after spending six months embedded with Liberia’s team during his 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship. While Accountability Lab is not new, Kondo has successfully adapted it to a new and challenging context.
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