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Final Opinion Poll on Corruption in the NGO-Sector

A final opinion poll on corruption inside the Palestinian NGO-sector has been published within the context of the Nazaha Project. Subject to the inquiry were the Palestinian people on one side and employees from 300 different NGOs from the West Bank and the Gaza-Strip on the other side.

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The Nazaha Project is a joint initiative of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and its Palestinian partner AMAN (Coalition for Accountability and Integrity), aiming to empower Palestinian civil society by combating corruption within the Palestinian NGO-sector. The Nazaha Project is funded by the European Commission.

According to the first phase of the survey which addressed the Palestinian population, 41.2% of Palestinians believe that there is corruption in Palestinian NGOs at a medium to high rate. The majority of these Palestinians believe that the most common form of corruption is the use of nepotism in employment (56.9%).

The second phase of the survey was exclusively conducted among NGO-employees and included questions concerning the extent of corruption in Palestinian NGOs, their transparency and internal auditing procedures.

The survey results clearly show that the vast majority of the interviewed employees (84%) are quite aware of the existence of corruption in the NGO-sector. The most often observed kind of corruption is practicing nepotism in facilitating services (82%), followed by the use of personal connections in hiring employees (76%) and the use of NGO property and resources for personal gains (74%).

The inquiry also included a question concerning the "Code of Conduct on Transparency and Accountability" for Palestinian NGOs. The Code of Conduct was prepared by AMAN within the framework of the Nazaha Project. By signing the code, NGOs commit themselves to strict standards regarding integrity, transparency and accountability. According to the survey 53% of the Palestinian NGO-employees interviewed have heard of the Code of Conduct on Transparency and Accountability. 35% of them actually read it while 19% only heard of it. 74% of those who heard of the Code of Conduct said they have signed it or are willing to do so in the future. These results clearly indicate the success of the Code of Conduct.

Furthermore, the comparison of the recent results with the outcomes of a survey conducted by the Nazaha Project on the same matter in the year 2007 vividly suggests a viable success of the Nazaha Project.

Accordingly, the comparison of the results shows a significant change in the self-perception of NGOs and their awareness in regard to the problem of corruption in the NGO-sector.

Whereas in February 2007 34.8% of the interviewed NGO-employees stated there would be no corruption in Palestinian NGOs at all, there were only 11.3% who held this view one year later in February 2008. This clearly shows a more perceptive awareness concerning this problem. On the other hand, the number of NGO-employees which have actually witnessed corruption has slightly declined (2007: 30%, 2008: 27.4%). This points to an increased sensitivity vis-à-vis cases of corruption within the NGO-sector and can therefore be considered as a great success of the Nazaha Project.

Accordingly, in the recent survey a higher number of NGO-employees stated that their NGO participates in general activities that tackle corruption (24.6% in 2007 and 36.8% in 2008) or monitors the general institutions of the Palestinian society, thus actively advancing its watchdog role (1.5% in 2007 and 7.0% in 2008).

The results of the survey were presented on Mai 31st 2008 to representatives of the Palestinian civil society and the public within the framework oft a final Nazaha-workshop. Thomas Birringer, Resident Representative of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Ramallah, emphasized in his speech the importance of transparency and integrity for the Palestinian NGO-sector and accentuated the achievements of the Nazaha Project in this field. "The results of the survey prove the success of the Code of Conduct for Palestinian NGOs prepared by the Nazaha Project", one of the major components of the project.

The founding of the coalition "NGOs against Corruption" as well as the development of a NGO-certification process also constitutes significant steps towards a society freed from corruption.

Dr. Azmi Shuaibi, AMANs General Coordinator for Fighting Corruption, thanked the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and all participating NGOs for their support in the implementation of the project. He also pointed out that AMAN will assume the coordination of the "NGOs against corruption" in the future as well as the awarding of the NGO-certificate.

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