HOW corruption affects lives, identifying corruption and implementing measures to deal with it, was the focus of a series of Transparency International (TI) Fiji workshops conducted in the Western Division last week.
TI Fiji's Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) ventured to Koroipita — a community for disadvantaged families situated on the outskirts of Lautoka and took the program to some of the most marginalised people in society — low-income earning and unemployed single mothers.
Tokasa Alefaio, the ALAC program officer at TI Fiji, asked participants to identify what types of corruption they were familiar with after explaining about the different forms of corruption which included bribery, nepotism, embezzlement and extortion.
In one of the examples used for discussion purposes, Ms Alefaio put to the participants a scenario where someone wanted to get a water meter connected but was asked to pay additional money "to speed up the process."
She challenged them before the 38 participants broke up into groups to discuss the issue asking: "Is this a situation that is acceptable? How would you respond in this situation?"
TI Fiji said the interactive workshop was deemed a success when participants returned with newfound sense of empowerment.
"We should be alert to corruption and help those affected by it by telling them ways to address it, for example going to TI Fiji or FICAC," was the response of one group while another suggested that further awareness campaigns were needed.
The workshop in Koroipita was conducted as part of a regular outreach program provided by TI Fiji's ALAC program to provide advice and assistance to rural-based communities.