PublicationsThe U4 Blog

U4 Helpdesk Answer

Anti-corruption initiatives supported by civil society organisations in fragile states

Fragile states are characterised by high vulnerabilities to economic, environmental, political, security and/or societal risks. Anti-corruption interventions play an important role in reducing fragility and building a more resilient state with stronger governance and accountability mechanisms. It has been documented that top-down solutions and single-issue engagements (such as the creation of anti-corruption agencies and/or the simple application of international standards) fail in these settings as they do not address the multidimensional challenges of state fragility. As such, the literature is increasingly recognising the importance of supporting grassroots bottom-up approaches led by local civil society organisations (CSOs). These CSOs have localised knowledge on the issues facing a region, can help to rebuild trust within and between communities, support individuals to report instances of corruption, and help to implement social accountability tools which monitor the delivery of public services

31 May 2023
Download PDF
Anti-corruption initiatives supported by civil society organisations in fragile states

Main points

  • Corruption levels in fragile settings are often high, and academics and practitioners increasingly agree that corruption should be addressed as early as possible.
  • Local CSOs have a key role to play in implementing anti-corruption initiatives in these contexts as they already have knowledge of corruption hotspots and are trusted by communities. They have a role in increasing trust and social cohesion, particularly through supporting public service delivery.
  • Other notable CSO led initiatives include supporting citizens to report corruption through advice and legal centres (ALACs), community complaints mechanisms, and advocating for stronger protections for people who report corruption.
  • Local CSOs can also drive the use of social accountability tools with community members.
  • International donors should focus on partnering with these local organisations in fragile states, provide them with technical expertise where needed, and ensure that their funding is sustainable.

Cite this publication

Maslen, C.; (2023) Anti-corruption initiatives supported by civil society organisations in fragile states. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2023:12)

Download PDF


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)