Integrity Fiji gets close to Transparency International accreditation

Members of Integrity Fiji; Joseph Veramu is standing (seventh from left); Picture from Facebook

Claire Johnstone
Wellington, September 7, 2021

Integrity Fiji has gained its first step towards accreditation as a Chapter of Transparency International. This signals a long fight to get the Chapter recognised by the international body. It is now recognised as a national contact.

The previous Fiji Chapter of Transparency  International – Fiji resigned from the international movement some five years ago after some internal issues.  

National Contact Status

Thanks to the leadership of Joseph Veramu and his Board led by Jofiliti Vaikoso, Integrity Fiji was formed  to rebuild a Chapter and has received national contact status, the first step in achieving accreditation. 

Mr Veramu is a well-known educator in Fiji and has worked tirelessly to get this far. He focused on building membership through the younger members of the society and formed a subgroup of Integrity Fiji called Youths for integrity. 

Youth involvement

It is a very active group of youth who spend their weekends and after school and university developing anti-corruption material including plays, songs and dances and then making videos which they perform and distribute on their social media sites.

Joseph often makes an appearance in those videos along with other board members. The following of Youths for Integrity is in the thousands. 

Joseph and his Board were determined to gain accreditation with Transparency International. But with no money or permanent staff, it was a struggle.

However, thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in particular Leonard Chan, Manager, they secured enough funding to pay a small stipend so that Joseph could concentrate on accreditation. They were also able to pay for selected TINZ members to visit Fiji and assist in developing the structure and policies needed.

While doing all this their profile has been built not just with youth but also with government departments, NGOs, academia and churches, all of which were online to support the announcement that achieving national contact status has been granted. 

Eradicating corruption

Jofiliti Vaikoso, Chair of Integrity Fiji said he didn’t imagine that the group would get this far when they first came together to advocate for transparency and accountability in Fiji. 

Transparency International Chief Executive Daniel Eriksson recognised the strength of Integrity Fiji is its youth programming.

“Youth is where we have the best chance to ensure that the next generation does not accept any form of corruption and that corruption is seen as the dirt that it is. We hope the rest of the global movement will be able to draw on the lessons that Integrity Fiji have accumulated successfully working with youth,” he said.

Claire Johnstone is a Life Member of Transparency International New Zealand with Delegated Authority Pacific. She has worked with Integrity Fiji for many years. The above article appeared in the September 2021 issue of Transparency Times of Transparency International New Zealand Chapter.

 

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