I've read about 5th pillar, (http://5thpillar.org/india/ZRN ) and the zero currency initiative to reduce the corruption level in India which is really impressive one.

According to them, they use Zero currency, which is very much similar to the Indian 50 Rupee Note that is in use where the number 50 is replaced by '0'. The downloadable formats of the note can be found at http://5thpillar.org/india/ZRN .In India its almost become a norm that there is nothing wrong in paying a bribe to get access to the Fundamental rights (Food, Clothing and Shelter). To break this stigma among the citizens as well as among he bureaucratic population we felt that we will have to start using a visual tool that reminds people that giving and taking bribes are equally a crime.

 

Hence 5th Pillar adopted this concept developed by Dr.Bhagat, a social activist and Professor at University of Maryland, USA, to tackle petty corruption in India. The note is printed and distributed in a few major regional languages of India. To further take this concept world wide the  http://zerocurrency.org/ came into being where the Zero currencies of the world is available in the downloadable format.

 

A few officials in the government departments have this displayed in their office to let people know that they are non corrupt. And the common man uses it to pay the corrupt officer when demanded for
bribe. It serves as a way to demonstrate subtly that "I will not pay a penny more that is required by law to get access to the basic rights entitled to me". The Zero Currency carries the contact information of 5th Pillar on the Note and hence the Officer knows that the individual who has presented the note is not alone. Most of the time the citizen gets a Royal treatment by getting seated and Tea served before his request is taken care, where generally the officer would not even look
up to give a reply.

 

The students at Schools and colleges are targeted with the Freedom From Corruption Campaigns where the Zero Rupee Notes are distributed to drive home the concept of Giving and Taking Bribe is a
crime. And hence reducing their tolerance level towards Corruption.This initiative is really wonderful one. Nepal, neighboring country of India, also faces similar type of corruption and bribery situation.

Nepal has the dubious distinction of being one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Corruption — from petty to grand — is endemic here. In recent years, Nepal has fared terribly in global indexes of transparency, accountability and corruption.In South Asia, Nepal ranked 4th highest position in corruption level.

If the initiation like zero currencies and activities of 5th pillar, replicated in Nepal, it will be the effective tool to reduce the corruption level.

Its very amazing idea, and very useful to reduce corruption in any country.

Samundra Paudel
Founder/President
Alternatives, Nepal
Buddha Marg-9, Pokhara, Nepal
www.alternativesnepal.org.np
Email:samundra@alternativesnepal.org.np

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Great Idea...we've used it in our local council and even the mayor is impressed with the results....a clear cut idea at first sight that...this person is not corrupted...at the Governors office the tag there reads.... "You are part of the solution or are you the problem?" ....anti corruption messages are getting a hold of the North West region of Cameroon.
bad salaries are one of the reasons for great corruption that is undermining our country, Cameroon. addition to an appreciation of the efficient political status of government employees needed, and urge to fight against corruption

I want to use this opportunity to thank 5th Pillar for such an innovative initiative to combat corruption. We will consider replicating the process in Ghana since Ghana can never be said to be free of corruption. It is unfortunate and sad that Ghana is a country where corruption have been "institutionalised". All state institutions one way or the other engage in the habit of making citizens unduly and unfairly pay for services that they should have received without any payment. 

The security sector in the country has also in recent times been in the news for alleged corrupt acts. I have personally seen policemen extort monies from drivers by the roads in Ghana. Its a menace that cuts across all spheres of the political divide even including politicians.

I believe strongly that corruption has contributed to retardation in most countries due to the fact that monies that is supposed to be used for the general good of the citizens go into greedy few individuals. Most anti-corruption institutions in the country have also not been adequately resourced and funded to effectively and efficiently carry out their duties of combating corruption.

More so, i am of the strongest view that issues of corruption is more of attitudinal problem and needed to be treated as such. Agents of socialization also have significant roles and responsibilities with regards to the upbringing of the young ones in society. Anti-corruption agencies must avoid being partisan in their operations and see the issue of corruption as a canker that is eating up the social fabric of the society. THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION SHALL FOREVER CONTINUE!!!   

 

The Zero Currency formula is a very welcome one,i hope it will work in my country Nigeria as this cancer worm is  deeply rooted here than anyother country in the world.Its so sad that this syndrom is no longer done in the hidden as it has been institutionalise and its an open thing that attracts no shame any longer.Anyway,the fight is a continuos fight and no going back.Nigearia must not fail!

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