The work of civil servants and those fighting corruption in Mali’s public service has been highlighted and celebrated at an ‘Integrity Idol’ event modeled on the TV singing contest.

By Natalie Leal

The work of civil servants and those fighting corruption in Mali’s public service has been highlighted and celebrated at an ‘Integrity Idol’ event modeled on the TV singing contest.

The competition – in which citizens vote for shortlisted public servants – was hosted by Accountability Lab, an organisation that supports change-makers to develop and implement positive social and economic change.

It’s the third year it has run in Mali, and organisers said it was the most inspiring yet. Moussa Kondo, who runs the Mali chapter of Accountability Lab, said: “We found some incredible people who are pushing for accountability and integrity within the Malian government despite all of the challenges. From healthcare to agriculture to human rights, the idols this year are finding new ways to build coalitions for reform, fight corruption and support transparency.”

Mali has continuing challenges with corruption. A Transparency International report, ‘Mali: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption’, found that “corruption incidence is high across the state bureaucracy which affects social service delivery, even if this has only rarely led to repercussions for government officials implicated.”

Honest praise

Accountability Lab, a US-based organisation that promotes public accountability in six African and Asian countries, uses the event to foster trust in government amongst citizens who can “feel helpless to change these mismanagement dynamics within the government.”

Moussa Kondo said tens of thousands of people from all over the country had voted for their favourites this year. “Our effort to ‘name and fame’ these heroes is key, because it begins to shift norms and help all Malian government officials know that they too can be celebrated for doing the right thing when no one is watching,” he commented.

The five finalists included two healthcare professionals, a former minister of justice, a state accountant and an agricultural engineer.

Dr Malick Coulibaly was crowned the overall winner for his work as expert in human law training, working for the United Nations Joint Support Programme for the Promotion of Human Rights and Gender.

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