Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sakker el Dekene - the anti-corruption NGO launches.


The above are photos of the launch of the campaign which I have covered earlier on Beirut/NTSC and which was headlined "Dekenet el Balad". The dekene in question tuned out to be an NGO named "sakker el dekene" whose main aim is to create corruption data via citizen participation to lobby for anti-corruption measures once the main extent of the problem is known and measured in numbers. The tools proposed include a full website, an app which is compatible with both IOS and Android, the now famous phone numbe 76808080 and even a cute Smart car which is branded "anti-corruption" and which will be stationed outside hot zones know for their degree of corruption.
The NGO is spearheaded by Abdo Medlej (full disclosure - Abdo is an ex-schoolmate however neither I was aware he was behind the NGO nor he was aware I am the blogger on Beirut/NTSC) and in his welcoming speech he stressed "that corruption is not about paying petty money only, it is a whole culture inside a system, one that is not about people. Once you fight people you lose. But once you target the whole system, then the battle can be slowly but surely won."
The NGO judging from the campaign, the mock shop they set up, and the availability of digital tools such a website and an app, in addition to a full blown car, made me wonder as to the funding behind Sakker el dekene. Medlej replied that "there is simply no finding. Everyone pitched in with what they could offer. Even the Smart car was given by a donor who is very convinced of the cause we are fighting for."
Beirut/NTSC caught up with Marc Maouad, an activist associated with the NGO who "was impressed with the grassroots feel of the organization. I felt there was something powerful about someone starting from the ground not a top-down approach with donors and money." Maouad adds that "we can all pack and leave, but eventually unless we all decide that a change is possible, and that by believing in that change, we will not be able to modify the ambient culture for the better to be able to have a decent country to live in. I have worked in initiatives dealing with the public sector for more than 14 years now, and yes - we all go through ups and downs - but in the end, believing we can alter things to make the country more honest and transparent is the driving force behind our presence here."
The more I asked the more it transpired that the campaign was done (even if not signed) by Leo Burnett - again on pro bono basis - as with everything else around Sakker el Dekene. And actually, apart from the now known campaign we were treated with a lovely video which shows the reality of dealing with the public sector in Lebanon. I wish that video is an exaggeration of reality but it is not!

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