“We focus on universities because students are the future leaders. Corruption is so pervasive in Kenya that it has created a generation that is unable to change. The values and life of university students, on the other hand, are still forming. If students learn at university that they can buy their grades and bypass bureaucracy by selling their bodies, the resulting cynicism will persist into their future careers.” – Not in My Country Kenya
First learnt about notinmycountry.org last year and immediately knew it’d be an absolute need for Zim colleges & universities. I remember even back 12 years ago when I was in college corruption had settled in already. People would pay lecturers to get the paper in advance. They’d pay for invigilators to look the other way or leave the room. They’d pay to have lecturers provide software projects from previous years (the software on floppy disc as well as the documentation, proposals and all) for the young corrupt minds to copy and paste!
Guys would just pay cash (or buy beer) but I wonder how bad it was for the female students…
Now everyday business in Zimbabwe is openly corrupt. I spent some two years as head of the tech department at an NGO where I was offered kickbacks by all sorts to influence procurement decisions. Criminals pay to be let go by the police. Ordinary people pay to get their driver’s license and the result is (predictably) more accidents on the roads, and the otherwise avoidable traffic logjams. The municipal workers openly expect a bribe to not disconnect you for unpaid water bills. Thank god for the prepaid electricity!
Digressing because there’s so much to say on this… Point is with so much open corruption in society, how bad is it now at colleges? What kind of graduates is this system producing? And not to forget that corruption is a two party transaction where both parties willingly decide to take a shortcut to a desired end. Can notinmycountry.org give a voice to those that would otherwise have nowhere to report in country that’s normalizing this disease?
I was reminded of notinmycountry.org after reading on Kenya’s Sunday Nation that a group of 15 graduates in Kenya have localised the whistle-blowing website to help students report indecent activities by university lecturers and administrative personnel. And to do it anonymously.
Of course there’s the reality that, like anything that opens up the opportunity of anonymous communication to everyone, it can be abused. Without knowing how they take care of that possibility, I wonder if they could use some of the methods employed by Deloitte in their Tip-offs Anonymous initiative so it’s a fusion of the power of grassroots crowdsourced reports that tech avails, and the ‘integrity’ of a good old auditing process.
Either way, I wish we could bring something like this to Zimbabwe. It, or our own flavor of it that’s sensitive to local nuances so the net effect is not in the negative. We need it.
Will it help?
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