The Corruption in Fragile States Blog

The Corruption in Fragile States Blog fosters conversation about the effectiveness of anti-corruption initiatives among practitioners, academics, and policymakers working in the context of endemic corruption.
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As an arm of the Corruption, Justice and Legitimacy Program, the Blog challenges conventional thinking and takes a deep dive into critical issues in the field, such as systems-based approaches to corruption, social norms, gender, and research methods. Featuring guest posts from leading experts, practitioners, and our own team, topics range from quick-bite summaries of new research findings from Iraq to Uganda, to provocative thought pieces intended to challenge dominant paradigms and practices. 

We invite you to explore our work and join the conversation. Leave a comment on a post or contact us with an idea for a new post – we’d love to hear from you.

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Analysis & Programming (“Kuleta Haki”) Against Corruption in DRC
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What Can We Learn About Corruption in Fragile States?
Top Three Challenges and Good Practices in Anti-Corruption

Top Three Challenges and Good Practices in Anti-Corruption

CJL Co-Directors answer the question: what are the three main challenges in fragile and conflict affected states and developing countries. Read more on these challenges, as well as “good practices” for addressing them. …
The Cinderella of the Sensitivity Fields: Why Corruption Mainstreaming Has Been Ignored in Development Programming

The Cinderella of the Sensitivity Fields: Why Corruption Mainstreaming Has Been Ignored in Development Programming

By Hope Schaitkin. Research tells us that that corruption-mainstreaming amplifies the impact of our development programming, and helps us avoid unwittingly contributing to or encouraging corrupt behavior. But why hasn’t corruption-mainstreaming gained the same ground as conflict sensitivity or gender within development organizations and programming? Read on to learn about three entry points for mainstreaming corruption in your organization’s development programming – from the perspective of a young development professional. …
Broad Anti-Corruption Programs Are the Wrong Approach

Broad Anti-Corruption Programs Are the Wrong Approach

By Mark Pyman. In countries enduring high levels of corruption, whether related to conflict or instability, it is easy to see endemic corruption as something overarching, requiring similarly broad reform strategies. However, my experience in Afghanistan suggests the opposite; anti-corruption strategies need to be tailored to the specific enablers and drivers of each particular sector. …
Three Reasons Why Actors Working in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States Must Stop Ignoring Social Norms

Three Reasons Why Actors Working in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States Must Stop Ignoring Social Norms

By Diana Chigas and Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church. Those of us who work to stop abuse of power – in the form of corruption, criminal activity, violence, state capture, etc. – are increasingly recognizing that social norms are key to achieving sustainable behavior change. We assert that in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS) social norms — the mutual expectations about what is typical and appropriate for members of a group — are even more important. Given their critical role in driving behavioral choices, programming that ignores social norms can have serious negative consequences. …
Anti-Corruption Programs — Know Your Crowd!

Anti-Corruption Programs — Know Your Crowd!

Social norms exist within a group. They represent mutual expectations, not just common beliefs, within the group about what is the right way to behave in a particular situation. And it is the approval, disapproval or other social sanction from the members of the group that helps ensure compliance with the norm. Therefore, understanding the group — who is in and who is out — matters for programming. …
Changing Social Norms: What Anti-Corruption Practitioners Should Read

Changing Social Norms: What Anti-Corruption Practitioners Should Read

By Hope Schaitkin. New material on social norms change seems to be appearing every week. It can be hard to keep up with it, let alone adapt an ongoing program based on new insights. Here is our short list of recently published and evidence focused must-reads. …
The Elementary Problem That Undermines Social Change Programming: A Word of Warning to Anti-Corruption Practitioners

The Elementary Problem That Undermines Social Change Programming: A Word of Warning to Anti-Corruption Practitioners

By Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church and Hope Schaitkin. There is increasing interest in understanding the role social norms play in maintaining corrupt patterns of behavior. Research from other fields has shown that social norms can act as the brake on behavior change, thus acting as the block to enduring change. While less is known about how to integrate social norm change into effective anti-corruption programming, other sectors are advancing this practice and anti-corruption practitioners can benefit from what they have learned. …
Why We Need to Connect Peacebuilding and Illicit Financial Flows: A Global Approach for a Global Problem

Why We Need to Connect Peacebuilding and Illicit Financial Flows: A Global Approach for a Global Problem

By James Cohen. Are new lines of communication needed between peacebuilding operations and financial centers? …
When Not to Call a Spade a Spade: The Importance of Quiet Anti-Corruption Initiatives

When Not to Call a Spade a Spade: The Importance of Quiet Anti-Corruption Initiatives

By Sabina Robillard with Louino Robillard

Many anti-corruption campaigns aim to target corruption directly and publicly. They are clear in their mission and have project titles that include the words “anti-corruption.” This directness is important in many respects, but being so visible makes it easy for people in power to applaud these initiatives in public – and to avoid them, or even undermine them, in private. …