Say NO to corruption in Sarajevo Canton

The Institute for Youth Development KULT had the pleasure of hosting two students from the Faculty of Political Sciences who volunteered at the Institute for a period of one month. Students Amar Begatović and Nejra Lisica did their volunteer work in the Department for Youth Policy Development, where they had the opportunity to contribute to the implementation of the  Say NO to Corruption initiative in Sarajevo Canton!  which the Institute implements in cooperation with  the Office for the fight against corruption and quality management of Sarajevo Canton  with the support of  the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands . While volunteering at the Institute, the students learned about the forms of corruption and researched the topic of the fight against corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Based on the information received and learned during volunteering, Amar and Nejra wrote the text. The text deals with the fight against corruption from the perspective of two young people, ie students, who recognize the problem of corruption in BiH. society and the need to more successfully fight against this negative social phenomenon by educating and informing young people.

The views and opinions presented in the text do not reflect the views of the Institute for Youth Development KULT, but are the personal views of the students who are the authors of the text.

The word corruption comes from the Latin word corruptio and denotes a socially unacceptable phenomenon with numerous negative implications for human rights, political order, economic development and the overall development of a country. Corruption implies any form of abuse of power to achieve the personal interest of individuals or groups, it is widespread, especially in developing countries and in transition, where even developed countries are not spared from this negative phenomenon. Corruption negatively affects the enjoyment of all human rights – civil, political, economic, social and cultural, as well as the right to development, which emphasizes the indivisible and interdependent nature of human rights.

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Corruption is a phenomenon that permeates all segments of society and significantly affects young people. Unfortunately, young people are not aware that they suffer the direct and indirect consequences of corrupt acts, which are reflected in their education and thereby harm their success during schooling, and we can relate this to the lack of education about corruption and its consequences. Young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina do not have enough knowledge about corruption and its manifest forms, which is a consequence of neglecting the topic of the fight against corruption in formal education. Young people do not show interest in the subject of corruption and learning about the forms of corruption, because corrupt practices are widespread among the older population and spheres of life where young people are not as present in percentage. Educational institutions are the places where young people most often encounter corruption for the first time, and witnessing corrupt behavior in such early years of life, in places where young generations should be taught the values ​​of ethics and integrity, can have a harmful effect on young people and their contribution to society and the state. 

Most young people equate the concept of corruption with bribery, just one of the forms of corruption. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, insufficient attention is paid to the education of young people about corruption through the educational system, especially at colleges, which is why young people are forced to learn about corruption through informal education. Throughout primary and secondary school, young people in BiH almost never mention the concept of corruption, and for many years nothing concrete has been undertaken by government institutions and bodies in charge of the fight against corruption. Formal education can help young people in the fight against corrupt practices, but before that, it is necessary to reform the education system, which must include education and information about corruption. A possible solution could be to introduce the concept of corruption, as a negative social phenomenon, into curricula in high schools and colleges.

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Since young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina do not have the opportunity to learn about the fight against corruption through formal education, it is necessary for non-governmental and international organizations to provide them with opportunities to educate them about this important topic through workshops, seminars and other means of education and information. It is also necessary for young people to show a desire for learning and education about the fight against corruption, because they are the initiators of positive changes in society. Young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina can significantly reduce corruption, and in order to achieve this, they should first of all know how to recognize corruption, refuse to participate in illegal, immoral, dishonest and unethical activities. Also, if they receive an offer to participate in such actions, they must report it to the competent institutions without fear of consequences. A unique example of introducing a culture of anti-corruption education into high schools and colleges was provided by Hong Kong, where the policy became part of a sustainable anti-corruption effort.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is the worst country in the region according to the corruption perception index, and ranks third worst in Europe when it comes to corruption in the state. Bosnia and Herzegovina has fallen again this year in the survey published by Transparency International, and since 2012 it has fallen 8 index points and records the worst trends when it comes to corruption. We can conclude that competent institutions and bodies in BiH are not doing enough in the fight against corruption. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is also political obstruction of key reforms of the judicial system, which hinders the suppression of corruption in all areas of social life. Involving young people in the fight against corruption brings new and fresh ideas that can be a good basis for reforming the mechanisms of the fight against corruption.

Since September 2021, the Institute for Youth Development KULT has been actively working on the implementation of the  Say NO to Corruption initiative in Sarajevo Canton. Within the mentioned initiative, they organize workshops and events of an informative and educational nature with different topics, some of which are: “You fight against corruption when you speak up”, “The influence of corruption on the undermining of government institutions – consequences for society and young people”, “Education against corruption” “, “Coffee with…” etc. In this way, they send a positive image and offer young people the opportunity to learn about corruption through informal education and ask everything they are interested in .