By: Roxanne Bauer. This blog post was originally published by The World Bank’s People, Spaces, Deliberation blog.
In an age when celebrity culture and corruption appear to be omnipresent, it’s quite refreshing to be reminded that there are good people doing good work day in and day out. These people work in our school systems, hospitals, charities, and as part of government bureaucracy. Yes, bureaucracy.
As Blair Glencorse states, “bureaucrats and civil servants can serve citizens in the way that they are supposed to.” With this in mind, the organization he founded, Accountability Lab, created Integrity Idol, a global campaign run by citizens in search for honest government officials. It aims to “highlight the good people in the system” as way to establish a culture and expectation of honesty and personal responsibility in government postings. Integrity Idol began in Nepal in 2014, spread to Liberia in 2015, and now includes Pakistan and Mali.
The process of selecting an Integrity Idol is participatory from beginning to end. Local teams of volunteers travel across their countries gathering nominations from citizens, hosting public forums and generating discussion on the need for public officials with integrity. From the long list nominees, five are selected in each country with the help of independent panels of experts. These finalists are then filmed and their episodes are shown on national television and played on the radio for a week, and citizens can vote for their favorites through SMS short-codes and on the website. The winner in each country is crowned in a national ceremony in the capital.
Here, Glencorse discusses Integrity Idol back in 2014, when the program was just getting started in Nepal. Nominations are now open in Pakistan, Nepal, and Mali.
Integrity Idol: How a reality TV show is changing minds about public service
Accountability Lab also encourages accountability by setting a good example itself and reporting its own expenses and hosting accountability collectives that encourages its partners to share information.