This article was originally published by Share America.

By Stephen Kaufman

Gyan Mani Nepal isn’t your normal reality TV star. He doesn’t sing like American Idol winner Caleb Johnson or dance like Ricky Ubeda, a winner of So You Think You Can Dance.

Yet the district education officer from rural Nepal beat more than 300 competitors on January 11 to become his country’s “Integrity Idol,” a celebrity created by a talent show spotlighting “honest government officials.”

The contest was launched by the Nepalese chapter of Accountability Lab, a nonprofit that works to promote government accountability.
Gyanmani-Nepal-after-wining-IIN-Award

Anne Sophie Ranjbar, a director of Accountability Lab’s office in Washington, said transparency advocates too often attack corruption by naming and shaming public officials. That method can backfire, she said, because it motivates people to hide their crimes.

“We wanted to show people that while there is a lot of corruption, there are good people,” Ranjbar said.

Nepal won his celebrity by investigating school operations and documenting irregularities. He circulated his phone number to students and parents so they could share complaints about teachers.

Ranjbar said Integrity Idol has received a lot of global media attention. Liberia, Pakistan and several other countries have reached out to Accountability Lab for help in starting their own shows. In Nepal, the organization is lining up respected public figures to serve on next year’s judging panel. The upcoming show will be even better, Ranjbar promises.