“This year, more than ever, Nepal has needed government officials with integrity. This campaign brings Nepalis across the country into a conversation about what this means. It will generate support for those civil servants within the system who are serving the public good. Highlighting their excellent work in public- in an independent way that builds a positive narrative- allows us to build trust with those in power and make sure they are acting on our behalf. It also allows Nepalis to feel part of a positive movement- that they can help to build.” – Narayan Adhikari
This year, the Accountability Lab is has announced the culmination of the 2nd national campaign to identify and celebrate Nepal’s most honest government officials. A lack of integrity remains at the heart of Nepal’s challenges and citizens often feel like they are helpless to do anything about it. But through Integrity Idol they are engaging in a constructive discussion about these issues and the people that can bring about change.
After the incredibly successful campaign last year, in which Gyan Mani Nepal was crowned the country’s first Integrity Idol for his work to transform educational outcomes in Pansthar district, Accountability Lab volunteers again asked citizens all over the country to nominate public
servants that they feel embody the values of integrity, transparency and
accountability. They hosted public forums, youth discussions and online debates around the need for honest public officials. We received almost 600 nominations from every corner of the country.
A panel of judges (consisting of Mr. Suryanath Upadhyaya, the former chief of Nepal’s anti-corruption agency; Mr. Ganesh Shah the former minister of science and technology; and Mr. Bharat Bahadur Thapa the Chairperson of Transparency International-Nepal) selected five finalists. We then worked with our partners Onion Films to film these five heroes- with citizens all over the country now voting in droves (by SMS to the shortcode 4001 and through the website) for their favorites after watching them on television and listening to the episodes on the radio. The campaign has already generated significant public debate around the idea of integrity and is inspiring a new generation of young people to serve the public good.
The importance of Integrity Idol is the process, not the result- all of these incredible finalists are heroes for their work to serve the public good in a fair and transparent way. We will celebrate them all and announce the winner on January 8th 2016 at a national ceremony at the Nepal Tourism Board offices, Pradarshani Marga, Kathmandu at 3:30 pm. The general public and media are warmly invited.
The Integrity Idol Finalists, 2015
- Pradip Raj Kanel. Mr. Kanel is a chief district officer at the District Administration Office, Panchthar District. He has a strong commitment to community development, including the reduction of littering, citizen’s rights and literacy, as well as tackling corruption. He is actively involved in the life of his community and has led many campaigns to benefit the district. Watch the video of Mr. Kanel here and vote on thewebsite or by SMS in Nepal by typing <IIN><SPACE><01> to the shortcode 4001.
- Ram Narayan Shah. Mr. Shah works as a resource person at Mahendra Boudha Higher Secondary Resource Center. He is strongly committed to increasing the quality of education in Nepal, including public education. He has made a strong contribution to the use of updated technologies for training, regular monitoring and evaluation and development of quality evaluation tools. . Watch the video of Mr. Shah here and vote on the website or by SMS in Nepal by typing <IIN><SPACE><02> to the shortcode 4001.
- Ramesh Kumar Thapa. Thapa works as an assistant management officer at the national park and wildlife conservation office. He is strongly committed to wildlife protection and forestry conservation. He has made noticeable contribution to the reduction of wildlife smuggling and increased community awareness and engagement in wildlife protection and forestry conservation. Watch the video of Mr. Thapa here and vote on the website or by SMS in Nepal by typing <IIN><SPACE><03> to the shortcode 4001.
- Deepak Shrestha. Shrestha works as a school principal at Beni Community Higher Secondary School, Beni, Myagdi. Over many years his community indicates that he has demonstrated strong dedication to improved education and improved the environment for learning in public schools. In the school he manages, the changes in standards demonstrated by the children have been significant. Watch the video of Mr. Shrestha here and vote on the website or by SMS in Nepal by typing <IIN><SPACE><04> to the shortcode 4001.
- Bhuwan Kumari. Rai works as a Women’s Development Inspector at the women’s and children’s office, Khotang. She is dedicated to supporting women and young girls in remote areas of Nepal where working conditions can be extremely challenging. She has successfully set up government policies and programs aimed at increasing women’s rights, education and awareness of sexual and general health in rural areas. Watch the video of Ms. Kumari here and vote on the website or by SMS in Nepal by typing <IIN><SPACE><05> to the shortcode 4001.
Photos by Grace Farson