Making Corruption a Thing of the PastAug 12, 2016
Mannequins wait in a never-ending line to get their diplomas. Their limbless, headless beings, wrapped with rope around their torsos are representative of the barriers individuals without economic means face in Kosovo. Meanwhile, those who possess a little extra cash can quickly skip the line to receive their [fake] diplomas – no matter their credentials and educational backgrounds.
The Museum of Corruption, located on the Lumbardhi quay downtown Prizren, is a satirical initiative executed by UNDP’s Support to Anti-Corruption Efforts in Kosovo (SAEK), a programme aimed at strengthening institutional transparency, accountability and integrity. The museum, which is open every day of DokuFest, provides the opportunity for the general public to participate in the reenactment of real-world bribery scenarios by accepting fake diplomas.
Though this is an entertaining simulation, the overarching message is incredibly disheartening and relevant to Kosovo’s current situation. “We want to make corruption a thing of the past”, says Andrew Russell, Kosovo’s UNDP Resident Representative and UN Development Coordinator. This initiative aims to provoke individuals to reflect on Kosovo’s current corrupt practices and seeks to deter individuals from supporting this unjust behaviour. The museum shines light on the high accessibility and facility of taking part in such practices, and the importance of opposing them.
Guests who enter the Museum of Corruption have the ability to remove themselves whenever they wish; however, for those who suffer from corrupt behaviour, it is not so easy. “The Museum of Corruption was interesting because it reflects our current time, where corruption is making our lives more difficult. But, it was an experience that made imagine what would the period when there would be no corruption look like – and for a while, I felt better”, says a visitor of the museum. Too often, individuals and families who do not possess the necessary financial resources have difficulties surviving in a system run by nepotism and favouritism. In line with Sustainable Development Goal #11 ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’, the museum reflects these higher levels of corruption and gets people thinking about their daily practices.
“The idea of creating an imaginary and satirical situation, such as this museum, is to stimulate citizens’ reactions, so that they seek accountability from their leaders – to fight this problem that is making our lives more difficult every day. Why not create a situation where corruption will actually belong to the past?”, says Vigan Hoxha from UNDP, one of the creators of the museum concept. With a personal component, such as a tangible [fake] diploma, the simulation helps people realize how prevalent corruption is – yet, also how easy it is not to support it. With the cooperation and participation of all citizens, this unfair and unsustainable trend can be one of history.
Author: Claire Davies