Three years ago, Accountability Lab Nepal developed a TV show through which honest government officials were filmed, with citizens watching the episodes and voting for their favorites. It was a surprise hit, taking the country by storm- with tens of thousands of votes being cast for the finalists. This season’s grand finale is yet to come, but the Nepalese people have embraced the competition again, voting in record numbers through SMS and online for their favorite civil servants.
The campaign brings Nepalis from across the country into a conversation about what it means to be a person of integrity. It generates support for those civil servants within the system who are serving the public good, and provides a platform for these public servants to replicate new ideas for accountability. Integrity Idol allows Nepalis to feel part of a positive movement to build integrity that they can help to build.
After the incredibly successful campaigns of the last two years, through which Gyan Mani Nepal and Pradip Kanel were crowned the country’s first and second Integrity Idols, Accountability Lab volunteers again asked citizens all over the country to nominate public servants for the competition. They hosted public forums, youth discussions and online debates and received almost 900 nominations from 67 of Nepal’s 75 districts.
A panel of judges (consisting of Mr. Suryanath Upadhyaya, the former Chief of Nepal’s anti-corruption agency; Miss Jivan Prabha Lama, Former Secretary; Mr. Ganesh Shah the former Minister of Science and Technology; and Mr. Bharat Bahadur Thapa, Head of Transparency International-Nepal) selected five finalists after a 7-phase selection process. We then worked with our partners Onion Films to film these five Idols. Citizens all over the country are now voting in droves (through SMS to the shortcode 34001 and through the website) for their favorites after watching them on television and listening to the episodes on the radio. We will celebrate all of the Integrity Idols and announce the winner on January 5th 2017 at a national ceremony at 3:30 pm. The general public and media are invited to attend.
Tara Subedi – Health Assistant, Mainabudhuk Health Post, Dhankuta
Mrs. Subedi sees public service through the lens of social responsibility. Subedi’s first and foremost priority has always been the wellbeing of her community- she even wakes up in the middle of the night to deliver medicine to patients’ homes. Going the extra mile as a health assistant, Subedi has even used her own saree to wrap a new born baby after delivery. She has gained immense trust in her community, so much so that children only take their medicine in her presence and women prefer only to consult Subedi on family planning.
“To wholeheartedly serve the less privileged in remote areas is not only a professional responsibility of a health assistant, it is also our social responsibility.” – Mrs. Subedi
Bindu Kunwar – Women’s Development Inspector, Jumla
Many can take responsibility, but only a few are able to stand up to the challenges that arise when fighting for justice for victims of violence. Among the few is Mrs. Kunwar. ‘Seek Bindu if you need justice’ is the saying among the women of Banke, her home district. Kunwar has singlehandedly dealt with more than twelve hundred cases of orphans, women and senior citizens who have been victims of violence. Residents of Banke already miss her after her recent transfer to Jumla.
“A public servant with integrity is one who is accountable to the citizens and transparent about government programs to which citizens are entitled.” – Mrs. Kunwar
Bhisma Kumar Bhusal – Under Secretary, National Reconstruction Authority
Mr. Bhusal is well known for his ability to empathize with the public. But more importantly, he is known for being a public servant with integrity and for his firm stance against corruption. He has even written several poems and songs to raise awareness around corruption. Bhusal believes that transparency is one of the strongest tools for a public servant. He is currently creating an online platform to make the details of the earthquake reconstruction process public, so that anyone can monitor the progress from anywhere in the world.
“Change starts from within. Being a good example is not only a satisfying feeling, but more importantly, it inspires others to follow suit.” – Mr. Bhusal
Dor Bikram Shrees – Principal, Siddhababa Higher Secondary School, Gulmi
Mr. Shrees, a dedicated public servant and outstanding administrator, is a favourite among teachers, students, and guardians alike, and a trusted member of the community. To implement practical and timely learning in schools, Shrees has initiated compulsory computer classes, equipped each classroom with multimedia equipment, and requires each student to read at least one book outside of regular classes every month. He also involves guardians of the students in all decision-making through regular meetings and provides financial updates through regular bulletins.
“Accountability, transparency, and honesty are all essential attributes necessary in one’s professional as well as personal life.” – Mr. Shrees
Krishna P Dhanchha: Principal, Bageshwari H Secondary School, Bhaktapur
Mr. Dhanchha has taken responsibility for the performance of his school but also the well-being of his community. Many schools closed following the catastrophic earthquakes last year, but Dhanchha – despite being affected by the earthquake himself – worked selflessly and tirelessly to make sure students in his community had a space to continue their studies. Dhanchha makes sure to involve the guardians of the more than four thousand students in the school in every part of the school reconstruction process, creating a culture of “We, not Me”.
“’Every day is a special day, and every student is an outstanding student’ should be the motto of every successful teacher.” – Mr. Dhanchha