According to the UNDP, funds lost to corruption in the Global South are 10 times the amount of official development assistance (ODA), while the World Bank estimates that each year between 20% and 40% of ODA itself is “stolen” by public officials. It does not end here though, as its pervasiveness and magnitude – when combined with the risks inherent to the non-profit sector – has now reached the point where corruption is perverting NGO’s missions. At stake here is the accountability and credibility of the sector as a whole. But are its leaders up to the challenge?
Sport is now the dominating source of entertainment worldwide. Just under the surface though, is a darker, shadier world where corruption (usually in the form of bribery, match-fixing, extortion, doping and money laundering) is common place. Sports NGOs are particularly vulnerable to these activities, with this article exploring why – and what can be done about it – in more detail. More
Working for a charity or NGO? Getting enough sleep at night? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to both these questions, then you should be asking yourself how much you really know about corruption risks within the non-profit sector.
See no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil!
Despite the growing level of funds channelled through NGOs (or maybe because of it), fraud and corruption continue to be a highly sensitive topic, with most NGOs reluctant to openly discuss it. This was highlighted a few years ago, when Médecins du Monde initiated a study in an attempt to open up discussion on corruption within the humanitarian aid sector (one of the most corruption prone areas of development). Of the 17 largest French NGOs contacted for a confidential interview, accounting for more than 80% of all French humanitarian aid, 11 refused to participate. Attitudes such as this, a general lack of transparency within the sector, and a scarcity of empirical evidence available on fraud and corruption, has resulted in the topic avoiding appropriate scrutiny.
‘Lies, damn lies, … and NGO accountability’.
In the simplest of terms, the stability of the non-profit sector is based on a collective public trust, built on the innate belief that nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) are intrinsically trustworthy. Just how warranted is this faith? Are NGO’s doing enough to merit the belief placed in them? At the heart of these questions is the issue of accountability.