integrityIdol-Mali-2016-horizThis article was originally published by Mali national daily Newspaper L’Essor, and was translated from French to English by the Accountability Lab team.

Integrity Idol” provides an open process of nomination, investigation, sorting, media final decided by a public vote.

“Integrity Idol” is the name of a new anti-corruption project, which was launched on Saturday at the Onomo hotel in Bamako. The launch ceremony was attended by representatives of the embassies of the United States and Canada, Andrew Lee and Amadou Kane.

“Integrity Idol”, represented by Moussa Kondo in Mali, is a national field campaign, through online and traditional media, to celebrate and encourage honest officials. The lack of integrity which leads to corruption, inequality and insecurity remains at the heart of political challenges in Mali. Ordinary citizens feel powerless to correct this and drift apart complaining about mismanagement in public services. However, it is essential that they feel they have a relationship and opportunity for positive engagement with the government.

“Integrity Idol” is a campaign of 8 months (April to December 2016) initiated with the explicit purpose of bringing Malians, across the country, to speak about integrity, accountability and responsibility. It will support officials who serve with exemplary integrity within the administrative system and public services. It will highlight their excellent work for the public, in an independent and positive manner. This in turn will hopefully lead to behavior change that can improve people’s lives and also allow Malians feel part of the system and the social context they can help build.

How will the process work? “Integrity Idol” will open a nomination process by which any person may designate an honest official. “We will mobilize our vast youth networks across the country to support this process. We hope to receive hundreds of applications from all over Mali. For example, a teacher who travels many kilometers to support the education of children and girls in Bamako District, and that always gives his/her body and soul to ensure that problems are resolved in time during his/her service. Our team will then check the references. Then a group of experts will work on the applications to narrow down the list to the five greatest profiles “, detailed Moussa Kondo.

The five finalists will then be filmed in their daily work environment. They will talk about why it’s important to be honest and interact with other people who will testify to the excellence of the professional commitment and especially their integrity.

These 20-minute episodes will then be broadcast on national television in sync with radio stations (national and EU) in prime time across the country. Citizens will be informed that they can vote for their “Integrity Mali Idol 2016” through social networks, email or phone.

After a period of public voting two weeks, the campaign “Integrity Idol 2016” will be crowned at a public ceremony in Bamako.

According to organizers, the impact of this project builds on the success of similar campaigns in Nepal in 2014 and 2015, and Liberia in 2015. “Integrity Idol Nepal has fundamentally changed the conversation in this country about corruption issues, integrity and personal responsibility for change. The credibility and trust it has generated have also allowed the winner to work and support through a series of reforms, creating a positive circle of responsibility “says Moussa Kondo.

“In Mali, we conducted an extensive process of building our network across the country. We have links and working relationships of the high sphere of governance at the bottom of the ladder with activists of civil society, youth groups, media organizations and the administration, “he insured.

The value of “Integrity Idol” is the process, not the result, ‘he insisted. This is a way to create positive conversations locally and especially to redefine what it means to be a public sector official, what is the role of government in a society like ours, and how we should think about a just and inclusive society.