Civil Society and Anti-Corruption Advocacy

Introduction
More often, civil society organizations, CSOs have been identified as non-state actors that have the moral power to engaged both state and business by compelling them to meet their obligations and respond to society common or basic needs.

The term Civil Society, CS with its broad groupings remain an active part of the society that we cannot ignore. Because state and charitable recourses no longer get to the citizens adequately, Civil Society Organization, CSOs have emerged, responding to this challenge as advocates and agents of a more just and caring society. Implicitly, they help to develop and nurture conscientious concern in the emerging global culture.

CSOs and Advocacy
As advocates and agent of change, the term advocacy has become synonymous with CSOs, involving wide range of activities, carried out by non-governmental organizations, NGOs. In a broad sense, advocacy can be defined as activism, campaigning or movement around a particular issue.

As a result of there actions over time, NGOs now impact policies as well as advance initiative which at a time was nearly an exclusive “rights” of government and coporations. NGOs humanitarian services have become vital role to the well-being of individuals and societies throughout the globe. In some identified areas, NGOs have proven record than government in service delivery and/or responding to particular needs.

Position of NGOs in Society
NGOs occupy a certain position in the society that makes them unique and special in their approach to issues and demand for accountability. If the first sector, which is public, fails in her service delivery, there is always a quick reference to support from the second sector, which is private. And where private fails in meeting her obligations, the third sector, which is the non-profit, where the NGOs operate readily, comes to support. However, the only sector that cannot afford to fail is the third – NGOs.

Anti-Corruption and Civil Society Organizations
In a very simple term, corruption can be defined as the misuse of public funds, office or entrusted power for private gains. Beyond this definition, there exist a whole lot of corruption activities. And the variation in scale results in a diversity of impacts. Chudi Okafor, a Senior Social Development Specialist with the World Bank once said in a 2003 interview with NGO Network magazine that corruption, poverty and leadership as related.

Anti-corruption effort by CSOs takes place on many fronts. But central in this is the need for good governance, which according to Jerry Pope of Advocacy Alert, “is the key to the fight against corruption”. Further he exposed that this role consist of eleven “pillars of integrity” made up of the following:

a. Legislative
b. Executive
c. Judiciary
d. Ombudsman
e. Watchdog Agencies
f. Public Services
g. Private Sector
h. International Actors
i. Civil Society
j. Media

Ironically, it was due to the lack of interest in the links between corruption and development among senior World Bank Staff in early “90” that propelled Peter Eigen and others to set up Transparency International, a CS movement that have transformed many advanced societies.

Though many CSOs, including media, faith based and community associations are daily engage in anti-corruption drive, NGOs have taken the lead in this fight, bringing about unprecedented vitality and ability to bear on critical issues on human rights and accountability which are often linked to good governance.

And because corruption in government circles is clearly at odd with many fundamental premises of civil, political and economic rights, NGOs flexibility and connections to grassroots communities aid them in mobilizing resources quickly in responding to the challenge. Quite often, their single-minded commitment, independence and strong motivation afford them a civic power that other institutions may lack. Today civil society advocacy on the fight against corruption are in many areas of human endeavors such as:

a. Human Rights
b. Conflict and Peace building
c. Democracy and,
d. Development

Procurement, Accountability and NGOs
Though the term procurement in supply chain management is relatively a new concept in our anti-corruption efforts, particular in Africa, NGOs’ unique opportunities and exposure have availed them the needed skills to participate at quick notice, and advocate for a corruption-free procurement regime. However with more concentration on issues of budget tracking and electoral matters in the past, many NGOs may have missed out the real issue around Public Procurement Corruption (PPC). While the efforts of the World Bank is highly commendable for taking the initial proactive step in identifying the need for exposition in the direction, and for taking steps to educate the “ever-ready” NGOs on the new challenge facing the society, it is noteworthy to warn that it is only a sustained fight and continuous collaboration with CSOs that will help.

Recognizing the fact that procurement corruption is a hidden phenomenon in our quest for a transparent and corruption-free society, NGO unique opportunity, must be taken into consideration for the engagement process. Some of these opportunities include access to diversified funds, watchdog roles, understanding of the issues, advocacy skills, closeness to the people and as friends of the media.

Role of NGOs in Procurement Monitoring
As stated above, though procurement process is relatively a new concept in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, the role of NGOs in ensuring transparency, fairness, integrity and accountability in the practices cannot be overlooked. Essentially, NGOs have a responsibility to learn from the professionals or experts to equip them in address the issue creditably and to assist in transmuting same to the grassroots.

The central role of NGOs, which involves procurement monitoring through a watchdog process is an academic exercise involving technical issues that only specialists can effectively venture. Considering that other speakers at this workshop will be addressing key issues, around “Procurement and Anti-Corruption Control Mechanism in Community-Driven Development”, which is the theme of this workshop, it will just suffice to highlight some key areas that NGOs and practitioners in procurements may be involved for monitoring.

a. Comparison of the achievements of projects under Procurement Plan.
b. Assessment of the achievement of projects.
c. Evaluation of Procurement Operations
d. Provision of timely information to ensure international best practices.
e. And other such areas that ensures transparency

Conclusion
In our daily quest for good governance and a corrupt free society, CSOs remain an unbending force that must be carried along if we must reach “Zero Corruption” destination. With impactful instances such as “Kick Poverty out of Africa (KPOA)” Global Campaign against Poverty (GCAP), Publish What You Pay (PWYP) campaigns and others before them, NGOs have proven that indeed, sustained anti-corruption advocacy is the key to service delivery and a corruption-free society.

Thank you.

Are Search Engines And Social Online Networks Driving Forces In The March Towards Socialism?

As a strong individual with high self-esteem, self-confidence, and earned ego, and as an American the march towards socialism in the United States is bothersome to me personally. There are a few reasons for this, but perhaps the biggest reason is my experience and observations of being a free-market capitalist entrepreneur. Once you participate in free markets, and you see how they work, you see the brilliance of the strategy, and why it is so innate for human beings to run their affairs this way. Okay so let’s talk.

Some intellectuals in academia who have never participated in the free-market reason that human beings are social animals, and have built-in empathy, and therefore the best human beings with these attributes are those who would wish to get together and work together to help the common good, and allocate resources and spread them out over the entire society. This concept of redistribution might sound sexy and it might sound as if it is the right thing to do. It might even be considered “hope and change” which is needed for the future of humanity. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

Should we condemn those that push America towards socialism? I don’t believe so because “they know not what they do” as they perhaps have never experienced what I have, therefore they don’t know the truth, we can’t fault them for that, rather we should be more concerned with the academic brainwashing, and the agenda based socialist intellectuals who have infiltrated every aspect of our bureaucracy to move mountains to destroy free-market capitalism in trade for this other socio-economic concept which has never worked in any civilization or society in the history of humanity.

Oh sure, you can cite examples in history where it has worked for a period of time, but it always crashes and burns, and is forced to start over again. Now then, I would like to discuss something more serious going on and it has to do with the Internet. No, I’m not saying that the Internet is a socialist plot against free-market capitalism, but I would submit to you that many of the folks who are computer scientists who’ve come from academia believe in centralized control, and are willing to slightly modify search engine results and social networks in such a way that pushes the agenda of socialism even further.

Now then, you might call me under the carpet for suggesting some sort of conspiracy theory. That’s not what I’m suggesting at all rather I am suggesting that there is a disproportionate number of computer scientists and entrepreneurs working in the great American companies involved in social networking and search engines on the Internet who are socialist leaning. That’s a travesty, because inadvertently just a few tweaks of the search engine, or a few modifications of how information is processed and distributed in social networks is enough to change the balance, increasing the number of socialist left-leaning individuals in our society.

Trust me when I tell you, it’s not a good thing to be leaning this way, as we are going to destroy the productivity and efficiency which has brought incredible abundance to our society through free-market capitalism. It truly has made our nation the greatest in the world and we need not follow Europe or other socialist nations into the abyss and sinkhole of economic collapse. So where are the academic studies when we need them? Well, you shouldn’t expect our socialist driven academia to produce research papers pointing out their own flaws.

Therefore, I guess I’m the only one talking about this on the whole Internet. Do you think the search engines will give a fair shake to this alternate opinion? I bet not. And if not who will speak for the future of free-market capitalism and the greatness that has built our nation? Most likely it will not be the purveyors of online social networks, or those tweaking the algorithms for today’s search engines. What a shame. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Could “Savings Society” Help Save Us From the Down Economy?

One of the newest networking businesses to hit the market is just about to launch. The Savings Society was a business model put together by fellow networkers who have tried to put a business together that will help avoid many of the pitfalls most face when starting a new home business.

The Savings Society was put together for a two fold purpose,

1. To help people save money on things they already spend money on everyday.

2. Help people Earn monthly residual income by helping others do the same.

The company was formed by networkers for networkers by creating an opportunity that will put income in new members pockets quickly. This will overcome the hurdle of earning a second income from home so many face.
The founders bring over 60 years of combined experience to the business. They have a vision to create an opportunity where people are saving more than they are spending, which has been a problem in the past for many.

Five industry flaws were addressed when forming the company.

1. Pricing… Overpriced products and services

2. Timing… Most businesses take to long to be in profit

3. Selling… Require sales skills to Convince others

4. Attrition… When people don’t make money they quit

5. Corporate issues that most face with networking companies which are
1. Pride… Not interested in what the field has to say
2. Profit Driven… Not as generous with the pay plan
3. Inexperienced…Most never walked in our shoes

What the Savings Society is doing different

1. Pricing…No sign up fees…very affordable

2. Timing… Break even very soon after joining

3. Selling… Plan is so logical it sells itself

4. Attrition… When everyone is making money nobody quits

5. Corporate Issues…

1. Listening to the field
2. Generous with the money
3. 60 years of “In the trench experience”

The goal is to help everybody make money from home.

With 3 membership packages Savings Society hopes to make this business affordable for anyone.

The membership packages include:

1. Basic $19.95 (saver)/ month

2. Premium $49.95 (super saver )/month

3. Deluxe $89.95 ( business builder)/ month

The great thing about this business is people are not being asked to buy anything extra or add to their monthly expenses. Instead they take the SAME money they would normally spend and make the desired monthly membership payment and get back twice as much buying power as their money would have given them in the first place. And to be able to create a 4 to 5 to 6 figure a month income on top of that by every body sharing it with just 4 or 5 people to get their income in motion, is totally awesome.

This could help the whole country by helping people save and eventually get FREE GAS, FREE GROCERIES and never have to spend another dime on the essentials we all have to have. And at the same time provide a full time income for EVERYBODY. THINK ABOUT THAT!

How to Network & Build Up Valuable Contacts and Connect Your Way to Success

University provides an excellent opportunity to widen your circle of acquaintance and become familiar with a broader more eclectic range of people than you are likely to find in one place at any other time in your life. Developing good networking skills is essential to making the most of this opportunity. Many of the people you meet at university may go on to be respected and influential in their own particular fields, and the opportunity to know them now is not one to be missed.

Everyone approaches social networking in their own particular way, and universities often provide support when it comes to alumni organisations, class reunions etc. once you have left your studies behind. While still a student, however, it’s a good idea to take every opportunity of meeting new and interesting people. Join societies, go to bars and clubs, become familiar with the people in your halls and on your course, and be prepared sometimes to sacrifice your own preferences of what to do and where to go in your free time in order to spend at least some of it in new and different company.

A difficult but rewarding goal to achieve is that of networking in several different contexts at once – developing a close friendship circle on the one hand while schmoozing with the leaders of tomorrow on the other, or finding time to keep in contact with the people on your course while at the same time taking up a new sport or hobby and meeting the people who do that. Networking beyond the student body is important too. Take advantage of special guest lecturers or speakers at union or society events; don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and ask questions, and be willing to put yourself up for positions on student committees, thereby allowing yourself some say over who gets invited to speak or perform at which events.

You’ll probably find you have to invest considerable time in building up your networks, and you may well find they have conflicting demands, but the payoff is often worthwhile. For instance, you may join the committee of a society as a junior officer with a great deal of work and little influence. By working hard, however, and investing the time in getting to know the people around you and those whom you represent, you can build a reputation as someone worth investing in. A reputation like that follows you throughout your student life and beyond, and nurturing and maintaining it can be one of the more fruitful uses of your time.

It’s important to distinguish between the circles in which you move. Some of the people you meet will be friends – in some cases, friends for life – and it is always important to keep these people close. As the saying goes, however, it is sometimes more valuable to keep your enemies closer: stay up to speed with electoral politics for a race in which you’re running, or keep yourself in the loop when it comes to schmoozing the entrepreneurial stars of tomorrow. Develop common interests with the people you intend to meet, and when you meet them, establish yourself as a kindred spirit. Above all else, however, be honest and be aware of the situations in which you find yourself. While it’s one thing to network when networking is called for, it’s quite another to develop and maintain your core friendships, and it is ultimately these which will require the most attention and yield the most valuable results for years and years to come.

Women’s Social Networks – Fun Times For All Women

When it comes to networking, women love it. Most women including myself often tend to be creatures of habit; we tend to love socializing. Now, thanks to the internet, there are so many online communities for women that can be used for social networking that it has made it much easier for women worldwide to find new friends, get new ideas and read fascinating stories with one another. Regular online communities are nice, but I personally believe that online social networks for women are much better. When women are around only each other, they are more fearless in what they speak of and they are not ashamed to be expressing themselves freely. Women’s social networks help ladies freely express themselves without fear of what a man might say.

The reason I bring men is because in our society, men can talk about many things much more freely than women. For example, a man can openly talk about sex and his sexual escapades no matter what he has done; if a woman even mentions it, then she is immediately shunned and considered a whore. Our society is very gender biased not only terms of sexual conversation, but ideas of power and many other things. In a women only social network, these biases may still exist, but it is only a fraction of what we have in other communities online and in the world for that matter. The result of this is that the women who wanted to express themselves freely began to make exclusively female communities on the web so that way they can avoid stereotypes or negative prejudices.

If you were to look at a mixed community for women and men on the internet and a women’s social network online, you would notice women will speak only on certain topics; usually they are more general or only discuss topics that are acceptable for women to speak on such as dancing, cooking and the rest of the “common woman” interests. Yet in a women’s only network, there is no shame; women will gladly talk about anything from everyday life to sex and sharing their stories. They do it because they know no one will judge them for no reason and this way they can meet new friends, learn new things and sometimes get new ideas.

A women’s social network is really the best way for women to express themselves freely. With the help of technology, there are now more communities for women everywhere who can discuss anything they want. They best part is that age means nothing: ladies of all ages can discuss any topic openly and are all treated equally. Hopefully, one day the society which we live in will be more open and accepting so that way women will no longer have to worry about being judged about their ideas before they can really let their voices be heard.