In 2014, UNDP partnered with Australian telecom MobiMedia to develop a sms-based reporting system that allows citizens to anonymously monitor corruption. The initiative was tested within the Department of Finance at the national level, i.e. approximately 1,200 department staff and it was proved to be an alternative safe space for reporting corrupt practices, with almost half of the staff had participated, providing information in a total of 22,000 text messages. Based on the success of the prototype, in 2015 this initiative has been rolled out to a total of 83,749 public servants across government departments. Plans are to extend the initiative to all citizens as soon as the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) turns operational.
The reasons that UNDP is facilitating this project is that PNG ranks 145th out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, and in the bottom 15% of the World Bank’s Global Governance Corruption Index. An estimated 40% of PNG’s annual budget (approx. USD 6.5 billion) is lost to corruption and mismanagement. PNG is rich in mineral resources, gas and oil country and has been growing at an average of 7% during the last 10 years, however this richness has not been translated into human development in PNG (at the end of 2015, the country couldn’t reach any of the MDGs).
The system has these components:
The Awareness campaign has the aim to inform Papua New Guineans about the availability of the SMS application and its conditions of service (free of charge, anonymous, user-friendly app, etc.).
The SMS Application component aims to further develop the software application. The application is currently being assessed, reviewed and adjusted through a user experience research. The system will first be extended to all civil servants (83,000 staff), and in a subsequent step to the general public.
The actions taken: the messages received will be gathered and analyzed through a filtering, scrutiny and prioritization process before taking any action.
The characteristic of the SMS system are: