Sabina Panth
Publication Date
October 1, 2011

In this report, the Communication for Governance and Accountability Programme (CommGAP) looks at impediments to anti-corruption efforts and how to break down the "entrenched mindset, the public's ignorance of their rights, cynicism, fear of reprisal, and mentality of submission to the status quo..." According to CommGAP, the report is a "one-step-up” analysis of 18 case studies taken out of the global anticorruption community and CommGAP research and is intended to shed light on practical approaches, tools, and techniques that have been successful in bringing citizens together to stand against the daunting phenomenon of corruption.

The case study analysis is based on the following components:

  • Established norms: Entrenched norm, apathy, or tolerance of everyday corruption. For example, what were the prevailing public opinions and accepted norms regarding petty corruption and why were they problematic?
  • Instigating factors provoking bottom-up intervention: Did a certain event trigger a reaction from the people? Had society reached a "tipping point" with respect to corruption? Who are the change agents?
  • Objectives/strategies for actions: How did change agents go about transforming these norms? What were the strategies developed to achieve this end? Was it an organic, spontaneous movement or an intervention from external agencies? Did a national or a local nongovernmental organisation (NGO) or an international instrument play a part in instigating the changes?
  • Tools and techniques used: What tools and techniques were employed? Was it a series of well-run awareness-raising campaigns or training geared toward citizens? An effective leader or group who could engage a critical mass of people in the fight? An especially compelling idea diffused by well-implemented communication efforts?
  • Outcomes/Impact of the interventions: What were the results achieved? What were the immediate and long term outcomes and impact? (e.g., actions taken, policy intervention/amendment, level of corruption reduced, change in social norms about corruption?)
  • Conclusion: What general lessons/conclusions can be drawn from the experiences? What conditions are critical for anticorruption campaigns to take root and succeed?

Some of the communication related strategies that appear in the case studies featured in this report are:

  • Advocacy using international instruments such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and national instruments such as the Freedom of Information Act in order to build pressure for governments to increase transparency and accountability;
  • Building strategic networks and coalitions to gain broad support from different spectrums of society to fight corruption;
  • Creating mediums for citizens to express their impressions and initiate advocacy efforts such as community radio, public vigilance committees and mobile phone text-messaging services;
  • Citizen mobilisation to improve or change the legal structure;
  • Communication and visibility of the movement by creating messages that were direct, factual, and without hearsay or exaggeration;
  • Curriculum development with anti-corruption messages; and
  • Mobilising well-known or respected individuals.

Some of the tools and techniques used in the case studies to fight corruption are:

  • Preventative education, investigation, and public campaigns;
  • Public education through face-to-face contacts, newsletters and practical guides printed for target audiences;
  • Modern information technology (ICT)-based tools such as the Internet, social media, and mobile phones; and traditional media tools such as radio shows, print materials, press releases, door-to-door visits, street theatre, and billboards;
  • Social accountability tools such as Advice and Information Desks, Integrity Pledges, Citizen Report Cards, and Participatory Budgets; and
  • Research and Advocacy.

The Communication for Governance and Accountability Programme (CommGAP) of the World Bank is dedicated to exploring and documenting the role of communication tools and approaches to improving governance and, as a result, development effectiveness. The project was concluded in October 2011.

See Related Summaries below for further documents published by CommGAP.

Click here to download the 18 Changing Norm casestudies.


World Bank CommGAP website on July 17 2012.