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Writing Against Corruption

14 September, 2008

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Voice 1

Thank you for joining us for today’s Spotlight program. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2

And I’m Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 3

“Corruption is a universal and never ending disease, a real cancer of our countries. We have to fight it with prevention and education. Sometimes we are only surrounding the problem, not attacking it.”

Voice 1

These are the ideas of a young man from Uruguay. He was one of the thousands of young people who entered the 2007 International Essay Competition. Every year, the World Bank organizes the International Essay Competition. This competition asks young people to share their ideas with the world. To take part, young people write long essays on a particular subject. These young people are from many different countries. And they have many great ideas about improving their communities, countries, and the whole world! Today’s Spotlight is on this year’s International Essay Competition.

Voice 2

The World Bank and eleven [11] other international groups organized and supported the competition. All of these groups believe that young people are very important!

Voice 1

Competition organizers know that young people are the future leaders of the world. And young people are already changing their world for the better. But competition organizers also believe that people do not always see what these young people are doing. And often, people do not listen to the ideas of young people. This is the reason the World Bank, and other groups, have launched the International Essay Competition. They want to learn from young people around the world.

Voice 2

The International Essay Competition happens every year. Every year there is a different subject, or topic. This year young people wrote about the topic of corruption. Essay organizers asked young people: How does corruption affect your life? And what can you do to fight the corruption that you face?

Voice 1

Corruption is a worldwide problem. And it takes many forms. In general, corruption happens when government officials use their power to influence the government for personal profit. Any kind of government can become influenced and affected by corruption. And many people are concerned about the problem of corruption in their countries.

So, what did young people have to say about corruption?

Voice 2

Young people from over one hundred thirty [130] countries entered essays in the competition. The highest number of entries came from Nigeria, Philippines, Indonesia, India, and Colombia. Ninety [90] percent of the essays came from developing countries.

Voice 1

Many of the essays had common ideas about corruption. Many young people believe that their countries are corrupt. They do not experience the corruption directly. But they see the effects of it in their everyday lives. One essay writer from Nepal wrote:

Voice 4

“Corruption does not affect my life. Nor does it affect anyone else’s life for that matter. I say this for the very reason that corruption has become part of our everyday life. In fact, it has become a basic part of our life. It has conquered and defeated us just like that.”

Voice 1

Many young people believe that it is common for a person to offer a bribe to get what they want or need. A government official will accept this bribe, or money, to do a particular thing. Sadly, many people all over the world believe this is necessary to get what they need. A writer from Zimbabwe said:

Voice 3

“My survival depends on working with corrupt people.”

Voice 1

In their essays, young people described many ways that corruption and bribes were common. How many of these situations have you experienced in your everyday life?

Voice 2

Have you ever paid a teacher to pass a test?

Voice 1

Have you ever had to bribe a doctor to get basic hospital care?

Voice 2

Do you need to give money to a policeman to avoid a fine or to pass a checkpoint?

Voice 1

Many essay writers have experienced situations like these. These are examples of corruption. Corruption is a crime.

Voice 2

But who is to blame? Who takes part in corruption? Many essay writers believe that corruption involves many people. Corruption involves the person who takes the bribe. It involves the person who gives the bribe. But corruption also involves the person who sees the bribe and does not report it. The essay writers also agree that people should face corruption honestly.

Voice 1

Young people see their communities suffering because of corruption. Corruption can produce many bad results in a community. One writer from Macedonia agrees. The writer says there is an even greater danger from corruption. It is teaching young people that corruption is normal and expected.

Voice 4

“The problem is much wider than giving your money away. What makes the problem so big is the fact that the young people are not taught on the true values. They are not taught to think about their future.”

Voice 2

An essay writer from Latvia compared corruption to rust. This brown substance appears on iron when iron is near water too long. Rust destroys metal objects. The young writer says:

Voice 3

“Personally I associate corruption with rust. Rust is able to ruin the work of even the best machine. It appears while the machine is working, and slowly, invisibly steals every part in it. No one can see it working.”

Voice 1

So how can people solve the problem of corruption?

Young people’s essays call for reform on different levels of societies. Governments and leaders, whole communities, and individual people must all be involved in stopping corruption.

Voice 2

This was the main idea of one of the winners of the Essay Competition. Winners of the International Essay Competition presented their essays to a group of judges. First Prize winner Abdullah Abdulsalam Al–Thawr was from Yemen. During his presentation he said:

Voice 4

“Fighting corruption is not a simple task or a simple plan. Fighting corruption requires cooperative work to involve all people in the community. We will all agree that young people are tomorrow’s leaders. But I also believe that young people can make a change today. And I believe young people have the potential and strength to do the changes. So the question now is not what young people can do or what adults have already done. The real question is: how can we strengthen the partnership between us young people and adults to improve this relationship, to fight corruption together?”

Voice 1

What do you think? Does corruption influence your life? If it does, tell us how. What can people do to stop it? Email us your opinions at Radio @ English . net.

Voice 2

The writer and producer of this program was Liz Waid. All quotes have been adapted for this program. Computer users can hear our programs, read our scripts, and see our word list on our website at http://www.Radio.English.net. This program is called “Writing Against Corruption.”

Voice 1

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!

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