Fighting Corruption in Afghanistan
Corruption is a major hurdle to the fair and effective delivery of public sector services and a foundational challenge to effective development aid.
Through the USAID-funded Measure for Accountability and Transparency (AMANAT) project, we work with both governmental and non-governmental partners in Afghanistan to improve the performance, legitimacy, capacity and accountability of government.
At the national level, we currently work with five government ministries that deal with public health, education, higher education, the disabled, and refugees, and with CSOs and the media to identify critical corruption vulnerabilities in public service delivery and implement targeted reforms. We build the capacity of government staff to assess corruption risks within their own agencies and develop targeted action plans to mitigate these risks. We also strengthen internal audit units within these five institutions to systematically detect and report on fraud and abuse.
In particular, we support programs to reduce corruption in the distribution of land to returning refugees. And we support the development of improved complaint handling systems in hospitals and clinics, and in district schools, so Afghans can register corruption incidents, activate government responses, and get feedback on how problems are being resolved.
At the local level, the project strengthens CSO capacity to advocate for reforms and oversee their effectiveness. Our CSO grantees initiate public-private dialogues in many municipalities and provinces to advocate for eliminating persistent corruption problems in the delivery of essential public services. They conduct social audits and public awareness programs so that Afghans understand their rights and know what to do when confronted with corruption.
Working to reduce corruption in a conflict environment, such as Afghanistan, presents unique challenges. Accessibility to communities outside of Kabul is difficult. While corruption is an ever-present feature of everyday life, physical security is a much more pressing factor for people to deal with.
Despite these security and logistical challenges posed to our project, we have developed close working relationships with citizen groups, journalists, and key ministries and subnational departments that have demonstrated strong political will to address the corruption problem.
AMANAT is a follow-on to MSI’s successful USAID-funded Assistance for Afghanistan’s Anticorruption Authority (4A) project that ended in 2013. MSI has conducted anti-corruption work in over 40 countries over the past 25 years. We are currently conducting major anti-corruption programs for USAID in Indonesia, Ukraine, Mexico and Mali.