Four years into the Lab’s very ambitious endeavor to change the narrative around civil service

and foster a community of honest public servants, we set out to measure the impact of Integrity Idol in Mali, Pakistan, Nepal, Liberia and Nigeria. Integrity Idol’s reach has grown consistently, with 92,546 votes cast in the most recent campaigns, social media reach of more than 1.6 million and coverage by The Economist, BBC and CNN along with many other international and national news outlets.

Since its inception in Nepal four years ago, the Integrity Idol movement has centered on sparking change in civil service in an innovative way, through “naming and faming” instead of “naming and shaming.” Changing perceptions and shifting established narratives around corruption is a long-term project and our campaign is still young. Therefore, our research focused on identifying early signs of impact from which we are eager to learn and refine our work. Moreover, we are excited to share with our community what the research told us.

The 200 individuals who responded to our survey across the 5 countries included government officials, the media, civil society, citizens, volunteers, voters in the campaign and others working on accountability and integrity issues. Here are a few key learnings from the report:

  • The majority of respondents agreed that lack of integrity is a challenge in their country;
  • Respondents overwhelmingly indicated that Integrity Idol is a novel way of tackling issues related to accountability;
  • Two-thirds of respondents are convinced that the campaign is changing how citizens view civil service; and
  • Up to 9 out of 10 respondents in some countries believe that Integrity Idol can inspire youth to consider civil service as a career.

We are encouraged by the results, while recognizing that respondents are friendly towards the campaign. In addition to these heartening responses, we have also gained insight into areas where we can improve, and we are already working on solutions. The feedback we received through this process revealed the following:

  • There is a need to strengthen awareness around the campaign in print, TV, and on social media;
  • While showcasing the work of our finalists through video is a key component of the campaign, we can enhance our storytelling and inspire even more people;
  • We need to build a better understanding of our process, especially in rural areas; and
  • Strengthening the Integrity Idol networks in all countries remains a priority.

At its core Integrity Idol is a celebration of positive impact, but our research also revealed the need to think about the broader normative and cultural shifts we are trying to catalyze. Our current and future research will also seek to answer how we mitigate some of the negative reactions to the campaign (such as jealousy of the winners) and gain a broader understanding of how this movement can lead to collective changes in integrity.

We hope that you’ll have a chance to read the full report, and we invite your feedback. Let us know what we got wrong and what we left out — we’re eager to hear from you!

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