The Poor Speak Up : 17 Stories of Corruption

08 Jul 2020
The Poor Speak Up : 17 Stories of Corruption

KKN (corruption, collusion and nepotism) has been a major concern for Indonesia society. Corruption erodes trust in government and hinders social and economic development. However, little has been known about how corruption affects the poor in our society. 

This book is the result of an initiative by the Partnership for Governance Reform in Indonesia and the World Bank. It sets out to understand from the poor themselves the ways in which corruption intersects with their lives and how it affects them. In order to learn from the poor the project team went to the urban areas in Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Makassar and encouraged the poor to speak up about corruption as they experienced it. The stories set out here reveal the pervasiveness of corruption in virtually every aspect of poor people's lives, ranging from schools to garbage collection and social safety net programs. It also reveals the willingness of the poor to speak up and share their insights and ideas. Their many stories reveal the complexity of corruption and its many consequences - economic, social, moral. It also exposes their sense of powerlessness vis-à-vis public officials and community leaders, where a combination of a lack of information and knowledge plus a strongly-felt dependence on the providers of services usually prevents the poor from voicing their concerns. 

This book is an opporrtunity to listen to the voice of the poor. The stories here are those most readers will be familiar with from their own personal experiences. It builds on the belief that we can move from indifference to action and solutions can be found and implemented. The purpose of this book is to help "think solutions" and encourage action. The stories are group by "solutions", i.e. where the same underlying solution might possibly change the outcome of the experience. It aims to inpire action and to start a dialogue about solutions among policy makers, change agents and the communities themselves as well as NGOs and media. 

Democracy has open a window of opportunity to claim one's rights and to demand governace reform. The challenge lies in making use of these new freedoms and opportunies to engineer change that reduces the burden of corruption on the poor. 


Erna Witoelar


Partnership for Governance Reform