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Accountability and transparency in our world today

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Added 13th April 2017 09:31 AM

The number of churches has exploded over the years, and yet cases of dishonesty and embezzlement are on the rise

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The number of churches has exploded over the years, and yet cases of dishonesty and embezzlement are on the rise

By Simon J. Mone

Strange things are happening in our society today! And the intriguing thing is that there is a lot of talk about accountability, transparency and all, but little walk. Even in churches, leaders preach these virtues but are never really seen to walk the talk.

Without mentioning any names, we have to take a deep look inside ourselves and try to pass this exam. Statistics bears me out. The number of churches has exploded over the years, and yet cases of dishonesty and embezzlement are on the rise.

Newspaper headlines have constantly highlighted these wrongs. It says a lot about our objectives. So in our work now-a-days, regardless of whatever we do, a lot has been left out there to be desired. The lack of integrity in service delivery has become the usual abnormal.

We should go back to the olden days, where people relied on trust in offering services. It is a call to honour the responsibility to our beneficiaries and to be servants, with integrity and respect.

So let us explore ways to make us better servants of people, and improve accountability and transparency in all aspects of services. For example, you get into a shop to purchase a commodity. And expect the seller to give you value for your money.

More often these days, you get ripped off because the shop owner, in a bid to maximise profit tells a lie about the quality of their goods. Be honest. Communicate the exact quality of the commodity. Communicate both the benefits and shortcomings of the product on offer.

To the other end, non-governmental organisation offering services to a wider community; let all stakeholders get the message about proposed services. They are vital in giving their perspective on services to be introduced. Stakeholders possess information that might impact any intervention, and also provide measures to be taken.

Lack of ethical behaviour in our work portrays a bad picture of us. So we should allow ethical behaviour to grow in us. To flow in teams, and indeed in offices where some staff are marginalised.

Doing this eliminates doubt and mistrust. It is a painful endeavour to tread the ethical path. For it requires patience and perseverance, but who says it will be easy to overcome temptation? Ethical performance needs sacrifice. Walking the accountability and transparency talk is beneficial.

Not only is it advantageous in front of our creator, but also image-wise. You get self satisfaction in commendations from people whom we do not think have noticed our righteousness. How you avoided the allure of a crafty guy who offered you a kick-back to sway your decision from good manners. In being accountable and honest, you offer exactly what you set out to offer.

And ensure the product is commensurate to the need that was initially assessed. With all specifications provided in a transparent manner to all interest groups prior to delivery, it makes sure that services meet value for the money spent. Where things have gone wrong, where we have fallen short, probably because of having a bad day, we should be able to own up our lapses. Audit and verify such actions.

Allow for a free and transparent audit to get to the bottom of misdemeanours. It gives confidence that there might be improvement in the quality of services and in future.

The one thing about accountability and transparency is that because of its top-down approach, at times potential beneficiaries have often been easily left out of things. So involve beneficiaries in order to implement things in a participatory way.

Consider this early enough so as to get any feedback in time. And coordinate effectively all activities to get people up to speed with interventions so as to achieve the impact. Create an environment where people share collectively and transparently.

The writer is a civil engineer

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