The term “corruption” is used and applied to a very broad range of beliefs and practices. Frequently, this makes pinning down the concept rather difficult.

According to the UNDP there is no international consensus on the meaning of corruption. Nevertheless, a popular way of differentiating corruption is by its scale. Petty corruption refers to street-level, everyday corruption that ordinary citizens experience as they interact with low/mid-level public officials.

Grand (or political) corruption generally involves much larger sums of money and normally affects the country as a whole, as well as the legitimacy of the national government and elites. The most popularly used definition is the abuse of public office or public position for private gain.

Designing out Corruption?

Integrity Action’s innovative Community Integrity Building cycle does not contain a circle for corruption or corruption control and yet it is part of our integrity formula.

Why is it missing?

It is missing because our Community Integrity Building approach is not an anti-corruption drive as such.

The first priority of our community integrity building work is to empower citizens to fix and resolve problems that affect their local communities.

However, we know that if there is significant corruption in public services and infrastructure, the monitoring tools deployed by for example community monitors will uncover what often amounts to strong circumstantial evidence of corruption, mismanagement and fraud.

Therefore, corruption remains part of our integrity formula and a tacit element of our community integrity building approach is that uncovering even circumstantial evidence of corruption and mismanagement gives communities leverage, which is beneficial when fixing a problem.