Introduction to Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB)
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) is an independent, non-government, non-partisan, and non-profit organisation with a vision of Bangladesh where government, politics, business, civil society, and the daily lives of the citizens shall be free from corruption. Founded on 10 January 1996, TIB is registered with the NGO Affairs Bureau of the Government of Bangladesh and also partners and collaborates with Transparency International Secretariat (TI) based in Berlin and TI chapters globally. TIB’s mission is to catalyse and strengthen a participatory social movement to raise and strengthen people’s voice and demand for an efficient, transparent and accountable system of governance, politics, and business. TIB’s Research and Policy, Civic Engagement, and Outreach and Communication divisions are geared to influence policy and institutional reforms for controlling corruption, and thereby help reduce poverty and promote sustainable development.
TIB carries out robust anti-corruption campaigns all across Bangladesh. Its activities enable citizens to actively participate in TIB’s anti-corruption narrative, which is implemented through research, policy dialogues, and advocacy on governance challenges. TIB’s core activities comprise of national and local level interventions.
The national-level work consists of evidence-based research and advocacy with relevant stakeholders in both the public and private sectors, and other flagship programmes like, investigative journalism awards and the anti-corruption cartoon competition. The local-level interventions focus on engaging the public for effective action at the grassroots by utilising 45 Committees of Concerned Citizens (CCCs) and 60 Youth Engagement and Support (YES) groups. These voluntary groups create localised dialogues, mobilise accountability mechanisms, and empower people to demand good governance in targeted sectors at the local level.
Since January 2022, TIB has initiated the five-year strategic project phase Participatory Action Against Corruption: Towards Transparency and Accountability (PACTA). During its new project phase, a new and additional voluntary group called the Active Citizen’s Group (ACG), is engaged to monitor the work of the implementation authority in selected sectors with the help of a social-audit app–PACTApp, the findings of which will, in turn, inform TIB’s research and policy advocacy initiatives.
Intervention in response to COVID-19
Since the pandemic started, TIB has conducted research in the health sector and exposed its systematic problems, making the public aware of the irregularities and corruption that impact so many human lives across the country. The policy advocacy and engagement based on these research have catalysed many positive changes in the health sector. Of them streamlining of vaccine procurement, establishment of modern COVID-19 testing labs at local levels, implementation of strict accountability mechanisms, and exposing the negative impacts of information suppression are the most notable.
TIB conducted series of studies on the challenges of good governance in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. The studies were – “Governance Challenges in Tackling COVID-19 Crisis: Inclusion and Transparency”; “The Role of Non-Government Organisations in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Way Forward”; “Tackling Coronavirus Pandemic: Governance Challenges in COVID-19 Vaccine Management”; and “RMG Sector in Covid-19 Crisis: Governance Challenges and Way Forward”.
The links of the recent research initiatives are in the following links for details –
Contributions to SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
The SDG 16 is the most emphasised goal in TIB as it works on multifaceted approaches to overcome governance challenges in all sectors of the government and state. The research, advocacy, outreach and policy interventions by TIB align with this SDG to promote justice for all to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
TIB’s activities on investigative journalism, anti-corruption youth engagement, debate programmes and local level engagements also support this SDG. The following links provide a detailed picture on TIB’s work on this SDG –
- Proactive Disclosure of Information by Government Institutions and NGOs on the Basis of Right to Information Act: An Assessment
- Draft mass media employees bill: Towards stricter control?
Contributions to SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being
In regards to contributing to the SDG 3, TIB has taken a multifaceted approach to identify and recommend solutions to governance challenges in the health sector, which has come to the spotlight when the pandemic unveiled the systematic flaws of the fragile health infrastructure of the country.
TIB has worked on local levels to mobilise change initiatives to overcome challenges in the health sector. The Civic Engagement division worked with youth groups, local leaders, concerned citizens and relevant stakeholders to implement effective actions against irregularities and corruption to establish good governance at the grassroots. Committees of Concerned Citizens (CCCs) in Rangpur, Cox’s Bazar, Rangamati, Dinajpur, Kurigram and Jashore have conducted advocacy activities to take actions against brokers outside hospitals through mobile courts. They have stopped private practice of doctors during office hours, ensured 24/7 delivery services, established accountability mechanisms in health and family planning complexes, curbed irregularities in recruitment and procurement, and increased the number of ICU beds, ventilators, oxygen cylinders and other medical equipment. Moreover, CCCs in Lakshmipur, Jhenaidah, and Chattogram have tackled corruption in COVID 19 health centres by ensuring proper receipts for service seekers and necessary information flow from the hospitals.
Contributions to SDG 4: Quality Education
Identifying and eliminating challenges in education sector governance has been a priority for TIB but the focus has sharpened since the pandemic as Bangladesh had faced one of the longest school closures during the outbreak. At the local level, CCCs continued engagement activities and follow up programmes with education authorities by using online platforms to ensure online classes, e-communication with students and e-monitoring of teachers in Madaripur, Nilphamari, Sylhet, Kishoreganj, Gazipur, and Lakshmipur. Apart from that, TIB worked on the fact finding studies to expose the irregularities in the education sector, making the path for authorities to take informed decisions while enacting policy reformations. Two such studies were, one on the governance challenges of secondary education and the second on the public libraries, can be found in the following links –
- Implementing Secondary Education in Bangladesh: Governance Challenges and Way Forward
- Government Public Libraries in Bangladesh: Governance Problems in Services and Management and Way Forward
Contributions to SDG 5: Gender Equality
Marking the International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022, TIB, in association with Cabinet Division, Bangladesh, organised a workshop at national level for the country’s women Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNO) on gender equality in ensuring SDGs and good governance. Twenty-three women UNOs from eight divisions participated. This is the 6th edition of the workshop started in 2017, focusing on SDG 5 and 16 that deal with gender equality and good governance, respectively.
At local level CCCs observed the International Women’s Day in line with the theme ‘Sustainable Development and Good Governance: Women in Leadership and Equality’. To mark the Day various events such as discussion meetings, community radio programmes, digital campaigns, and rallies in collaboration with local administration, women affairs office and other NGOs were organised. The main focus was to promote women’s participation and leadership in access to services and decision-making processes, especially in health and income generating activities. All relevant stakeholders have been mobilised to a common goal to stop violence against women and children by 2030 in line with the SDGs. Concerned citizens also focused on cross-cutting initiatives of combining SDG 5 and SDG 16 as access to justice for the victims of domestic violence, rule of law and equal rights that are pre-requisites for ensuring women empowerment.
TIB also conducted research to unearth the challenges faced by women public officials and suggested ways of making governance institutions more welcoming to irrespective of all genders. The details of the research can be found in the following link –
Twenty-three female UNOs from 8 divisions participated in the workshop organised at national level in Dhaka on the occasion of the International Women’s Day.
Contributions to SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
CCCs at Barishal, Gazipur, Munshiganj and Chandpur focused on the sustainable management of water resources and conducted advocacy communications with government stakeholders. The research of TIB based on SDG 6 emphasised on the governance challenges of tackling avoidable diseases, especially dengue. The policy brief on the research can be viewed here –
Contributions to SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, and SDG 13: Climate Action
TIB’s policy stance on affordable energy and climate action are cross-cutting initiatives, supported by its Climate Finance Governance and Climate Finance Policy Integrity programmes. TIB held a robust position against corporate lobbying of fossil fuel companies and repeatedly called for establishing renewable energy dependence within the shortest possible time. Moreover, TIB made a strong position on supporting climate vulnerable countries and called on the Bangladesh government to play a more important role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. TIB’s research focused on biodiversity protection and the local offices that carried out climate finance governance advocacy programmes. The following links can provide a more in-depth picture on TIB’s work on this SDG –
- COP-26 – Position Paper Demanding Expansion of Renewable Energy, Reduction of Coal Usage, and Transparency and Accountability in Climate Financing
- Governance Challenges of the Department of Environment and Way Forward
Contributions to SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
TIB aligns itself with this SDG by conducting research on systematic inequalities that impact people outside the mainstream population. Studies and recommendations of overcoming challenges on inclusiveness of persons with disabilities and marginalised populations allowed advocacy activities on establishing more inclusive societies. The following research supports the SDG –
- Inclusiveness in Development and Disability: Governance Challenges and Way Forward
- Policy brief on Inclusiveness in Development and Disability: Governance Challenges and Way Forward
- Access of Marginalised Communities to Public Services – An Assessment of Accountability Mechanisms
Future outlook and recommendations
The pandemic has brought the systematic irregularities into spotlight in the country that directly and indirectly impact its people. TIB, through its research, advocacy and outreach, has unearthed and provided solutions to issues that hold back the country and its people with systematic problems at the policy level, and corruption at the grassroots. As Bangladesh moves forward from its LDC status and brings forth a new era of opportunities for human development, TIB will continue to fight against corruption and irregularities through its multifaceted activities throughout the country. The challenges in different sectors have been identified in the decade long fight against corruption, and the next step is to ensure people’s participation in mitigating these challenges. TIB will continue its work to support the SDGs, hoping for a better world free of corruption, injustice and inequalities. The current project phase PACTA will work to combine the knowledge gained from big data platforms with research initiatives to gather more data on governance deficiencies and provide customised solutions to challenges at the grassroots.
TIB and its activities can be followed on https://www.ti-bangladesh.org/