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Young People Are the Solution to End Corruption

Written by: Yin Verak, a 3rd year student majoring in Business Administration at Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia

Edited by: Heng Kimkong, a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Cambodia Development Center and a PhD Candidate in Education at The University of Queensland, Australia

(Photo was taken on November 8, 2020 after a discussion with Mr. Ok Serei Sopheak, Good Governance Specialist, under the topic: "Good Governance at Sub-national Level" in Battambang province )


“I hate corruption. I don’t want to see any corrupt activities in my country anymore. I despise corruption. Corruption is dangerous for the country’s development. Corruption is an unspeakable issue.” There are what I have heard from different people who expressed their thoughts and perspectives about corruption. But the problem is, have they done anything to stop corruption? Or are they just words? 


I believe that most people have known about how corruption negatively affects our country and our livelihood. Almost every sector of our country, even justice, education, healthcare, public services, and natural wealth, are seriously impacted by this unspeakable issue. Organizations, communities, individuals and the country as a whole are no exception. Corruption can undermine transparency, creditability, accountability, consistency and prosperity of the country. Besides, it brings many consequences to our country’s economy, society, politics, and governance, leading to an increase in poverty. According to the Transparency International, corruption is defined as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain”. Corruption erodes trust, weakens democracy, hampers economic development and further exacerbates inequality, poverty, social division and environmental crisis.

Corruption can be found everywhere including in the government, education system, business, healthcare sector, the media, politics, the courts, civil society, and so on and so forth; moreover, most people have engaged in it both directly and indirectly. People usually say that corruption is terrible. Additionally, they also know how serious and dangerous corruption is for their nation, their fellow country people, the world and even themselves. However, have they ever been involved in it? The answer would be “YES, they have, and many are probably still engaging in it.” I personally believe most, if not all, people have engaged in corruption and experienced this issue at least once in their lives. Moreover, I literally think that people engage in corruption because it’s beneficial for them. Politicians, public servants, NGO workers, business people, government officials, journalists, judges, lawyers, and anybody can engage and participate in corrupt activities.

Corruption hurts everybody, affects everything and brings about many unspeakable consequences into this whole world. It can take from us, especially young people, the opportunity to learn, develop, grow, improve, seek, and obtain better lives and brighter futures. The young generation play a vital role in contributing to their country’s development. They also represent the future of their own country; essentially, they will be able to become potential leaders of tomorrow. To be the potential youth, they need fair and abundant opportunities in everything; however, everything will be ruined if there are corrupt activities. In fact, corruption not only curtails our opportunities, but it also badly affects every aspect of public services. It devastates the education system, leading to the low quality of education, mismanagement of the school system, lack of availability and quality of educational goods and services, unqualified students and teachers, educational inequality, high rates of unemployment, and so on. Besides, in terms of corruption in the healthcare sector, the judicial system and politics, the more money you have, the more opportunities, justice, power and the best quality of healthcare services you will get. Therefore, people who are in the low income group or in poverty have no chances to obtain quality and equitable access to public services, even if they are the citizens of the country just like the rich and the powerful. Environment, moreover, has also been harmed by the act of corruption. Natural resources, ecosystems and natural wealth are stolen and damaged by corrupters. All of these negatively impact our country’s development, to say the least. There are also a lot more consequences of corruption on people and every aspect of society. 

Therefore, it is time to stop any kinds and any forms of corruption in order to save our country for the next generations.

Young people are the solution to combat corruption

As young people in this generation, we need to start from now to be the solution creators or initiators to fight against any forms of corruption; most importantly, we need to normalize anti-corruption campaigns and make them a norm in our society as well as in this whole world in order to build equality and transparency for all. Young people have to strengthen, renew, refresh and renovate all systems and factors of their own country; especially, the laws, policies, mechanism, procedure and so on in order to make them stronger and more efficient. We also need to ensure the successful and effective policy implementation. Below are some suggestions for youth to make a difference in their country and to fight against corruption.

First things first, it all starts within ourselves. We need to be truly and strongly educated, which means we should have knowledge, ability, skills and experience to understand the causes and effects of corruption, as well as understand the laws and mechanisms that the government uses to fight against corruption. We also need to examine and take part in enhancing the implementation of those mechanisms and other strategies to combat corruption. The goal is to innovate the solutions, figure out how to solve all of these problems and enhance the transparency and accountability in all sectors of society. Moreover, we have to value moral, transparent and honest activities as always. Particularly, we need to be committed and avoid engaging in corruption so that we can contribute to minimizing corrupt activities in our society. If we take part in this good social cause actively, sooner or later corruption in our society will be gone. 

As young people, we can also inspire and influence other people based on our understanding and commitment to an anti-corruption mindset. We can mobilize other youth to raise public awareness, build understanding, and motivate as well as empower others to be strongly, physically and mentally active in promoting transparency and the anti-corruption system in the country; specifically, we have to act to bring about inspirations and movements against corruption in all aspects in our society. To do so, we can utilize social media platforms because social media is a powerful, effective and quick way to reach out to others. Therefore, we can post and share blogs, vlogs, quotes, pictures, news, perspectives, opinions and so on through the platforms. Moreover, we need to report any activities related to corruption through the internet in order to expose this issue and let others know how bad it is and how we all can work together to solve it. We can conduct online campaigns to engage other youth to form a critical mass to fight against corruption and corrupt people. We can also form small groups in our local communities or large groups with international youth who want to stop the same issue. Additionally, we can discuss, learn from each other and share our points of view or solutions with our friends, colleagues, families, and other youth. This is not only for eliminating corruption but also for addressing other social issues. 

We can also work closely with civil society organizations, NGOs, youth groups or even government officials to combat corruption and promote corruption-free society. We need to follow and observe how our taxes are collected and spent. Besides, we should participate and engage in any policy development and implementation activities to enhance effectiveness, transparency and accountability. Engaging in public policy debates and anti-corruption initiatives can enable us to understand the existing corruption policy, how effective the policy is, and what needs to be improved. We need to also understand the gap between the policy and the implementation to find ways to contribute to the effectiveness of policy implementation. Most importantly, we have to expand our understanding and build skills as well as experience on how to resolve and prevent corrupt practices in our communities.  

In summary, corruption is unacceptable. It is undeniably, culturally and socially disgraceful. As the young generation, we need to change this diabolical habit and embrace a new system that is free from corruption. We need to step up, raise our voices and take action to ensure that our country and every aspect of our society are corruption-free.

Don’t just hate corruption, but stop ourselves from being involved in it. 

We need to stop it from stealing our future by starting to kill it now!


*This blog is produced with the financial support from the European Union and The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency through Transparency International Cambodia and ActionAid Cambodia. Its contents do not reflect the views of any donors.