Central Asian Research Institute on Corruption and Money Laundering (CARI)

Please present yourself:

My name is Erkaiym Mambetalieva and I have been the founder and director of the Central Asian Research Institute on Corruption and Money Laundering (CARI) since 2018. I am also a member of the Anti-Corruption Council under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Coordination Council of law enforcement, fiscal and other state bodies, local authorities of the Kyrgyz Republic on countering corruption issues under the Prosecutor General’s Office.

High levels of corruption in our country became a major obstacle in developing the economy and the lives of people.  Therefore, I decided to become involved in the fight against corruption. I have a team of anti-corruption experts who support me in this struggle.

What are your organization’s main goals?

CARI was founded in 2018 with the aim to promote anti-corruption education, strengthen anti-corruption expertise, form a negative attitude towards corruption in society, and instill the skills necessary for the development and implementation of anti-corruption measures.

How does your organization operate?

CARI primarily works on anti-corruption education, research, advocacy, monitoring, and the evaluation of government anti-corruption measures. Stakeholders involved in our activities are civil society, governmental bodies, educational institutions, and activists.

The structure of our organization is charter-based and as follows: the Founder is the director, and we have an observatory board that consists of three members according to the charter.

What are the biggest successes your organization has accomplished in the field of anti-corruption in the past years?

  • For the first time, we have raised the initiative of introducing anti-corruption education in the universities of the Kyrgyz Republic, thanks to our anti-corruption school for teachers. As a result of this work, a course on anti-corruption policy was introduced in five universities in Kyrgyzstan.
  • The first Youth Anti-Corruption Camp was held with the aim of instilling intolerance for corruption among young people. Subsequently, the participants themselves conducted training for their peers at universities.
  • With the support of our key partners – the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan – we are successfully implementing a certified academic anti-corruption program in Kyrgyzstan. This program upgraded the civil society activists in the field of anti-corruption, instilled skills, and provided knowledge on anti-corruption and global best practices.
  • Textbooks for students and teachers of universities on the basics of combating corruption are being published.
  • Research is being carried out on anti-corruption issues in Kyrgyzstan. Currently, we are conducting research on the abuse of administrative resources in the electoral process and we are preparing proposals on how to combat it.

What are the key challenges specific to your local context that your organization has been facing?

The main challenges we have been facing during our activities are:

  • A lack of governmental support and political will to combat corruption,
  • A weak civil society in the sphere of anti-corruption,
  • A lack of cooperation among civil society institutions working in the sphere of anti-corruption,
  • A high level of tolerance for corruption within society,
  • The desire of the authorities to reduce the role of civil society institutions in the country

What can other organizations learn from you?

We are strengthening cooperation between civil society institutions and we are also developing the research potential of the anti-corruption movement in our country.  We have developed and implemented the anti-corruption educational program, which strengthens and promotes civil society work on anti-corruption.  Our organization also has extensive experience in research, including research methodology, which we carry out with a team of experts. 

To what extent has your organization been involved in the UNCAC Review Mechanism?

Our organization has not participated in the UNCAC Review Mechanism yet, but we are planning to do so in the near future.

What is an anti-corruption achievement you are proud of?

Since 2005, I have been involved in anti-corruption activities by actively participating in working groups on anti-corruption legislation and working in governmental anti-corruption departments. In 2005, I established the anti-corruption center under the local government of Bishkek city hall, where I was a director and I have participated in the creation of the anti-corruption legislation.

I am also proud of one of my main achievements – educating people on what corruption is and how to fight it. I am spreading anti-corruption ideas among youth with the firm belief that this will yield results one day.

Participants at an academic anti-corruption program.

What have you learned from your organization’s work in anti-corruption that could be useful to others?

First of all, the work of our organization has taught me the importance of anti-corruption education. It is crucial to spread knowledge on corruption, as many people don’t understand what corruption is, how it manifests itself, and what its negative effects are. It is also important to promote cooperation and interaction between government bodies and civil society institutions in order to promote anti-corruption initiatives.

Why is it important for you and your organization to be a member of the UNCAC Coalition?

I believe that in order to fight corruption effectively, civil society institutions around the world must stand together and cooperate. Corruption is not a problem of any single country; it has become a global problem and all global communities must put an effort into fighting it.

Is there anything you would like to share that has not yet been mentioned?

We believe that in order to fight corruption effectively – we must stand together and work as one team. Unless civil society actively promotes anti-corruption initiatives, the authorities will never have the will to fight corruption.