This report analyzes the fight against corruption in Guatemala by social movements over the past five years, homing in on their major successes and challenges in working to advance transparency, accountability, and good governance. The lessons drawn from these efforts can be applicable for other movements around the world operating in similar contexts. The work also has a larger bearing for international actors helping states build peace and democratic governance following prolonged violent conflict.
Countries worldwide that suffer or risk violent conflicts face a new hazard amid the COVID-19 pandemic: governments’ use of the disease as a pretext to curtail democratic freedoms and punish opposition. As COVID has spread across Africa, Zimbabwe is emerging as one of the countries most vulnerable to the disease—and most illustrative of its threat to peace and democratization efforts on the continent. Two and a half years after a military coup installed President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his government has used the health crisis to arrest members of the opposition and journalists, and divert humanitarian aid to ruling party supporters.
Last year saw a wave of nonviolent action movements, mostly relying on tactics of large public protests and sit-ins as people took to the streets from Hong Kong to Chile to demand greater democracy, economic equality, and social justice. Some of these movements, like the revolution that successfully ousted Sudan’s longtime authoritarian ruler Omar al-Bashir, achieved many of their goals. Others, like the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, were still seeking major demands from the government when news of the rapid spread of a novel coronavirus began coming out of central China.
From Kenya to Ukraine to Guatemala, citizen-led campaigns are fighting against corruption and demanding government accountability and transparency. Government donors and private foundation have increasingly supported such efforts. But, how does foreign funding impact the goals social movements seek to achieve and the tactics they use to get there? How does foreign funding impact a social movement’s ability to mobilize the masses? And what should external funders consider when supporting social movements? USIP’s Davin O’Regan discusses the finding of a forthcoming USIP Peaceworks examining the impact of external support to social movements focused on transparency and accountability.
Focusing on transparency and anti-corruption issues, this report discusses the findings from a series of participatory workshops and more than seventy interviews with social movement actors and organizations in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ukraine. It looks at the different ways social movement actors in these countries were influenced by foreign financial support and training, including in terms of the goals they set, the tactics and activities they pursue, and whether receiving foreign support compromises their legitimacy with their domestic constituents.
Since the demise of its military dictatorship in the late 1990s, Nigeria has made remarkable democratic progress. Still, widespread corruption bedevils the country—which in many respects presents its biggest policy challenge and its biggest threat to stability and development. Drawing on a workshop held in Abuja as well as on...