We are pleased to announce that the Transparency Maldives publication ‘Assessment of Women’s Development Committees in the Maldives’ is being launched today to mark the International Women’s Day.

Women’s Development Committees (WDC) are a traditional women’s institution in the Maldives, and are an important platform for women to enter into politics and participate in the decision making process of island development. Despite the fact that WDCs are unable to operate as mandated in the Decentralisation Act, it is paramount that WDCs continue to exist and adequate support mechanisms are developed to steer WDCs to fulfil their mandate.

TM’s Assessment of Women’s Development Committees in the Maldives indicates that financial and resource constraints, poor working relationships with the Island Councils and negative public perception towards women in public life are the main challenges faced by Women’s Development Committees (WDCs) across the Maldives.

The following is a list of recommendations based on our research findings:

  1. Councils must consult WDCs as stipulated in the Decentralisation Act
  2. Clarify the role of regulatory bodies and support structures in relation to WDCs
  3. Build the capacity of WDCs to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills
  4. Island Councils should develop resource sharing mechanisms to support WDCs
  5. Provide financial support for WDCs and secure additional sources of funding
  6. Men should be able to contest in and vote for WDC elections

The recommendations identified in the Assessment intend to provide a basis for the development of strategic actions that promote the role, participation and representation of women in public life. It is hoped that the findings from this assessment provide further impetus for the relevant authorities to establish better coordination amongst stakeholders to meet the needs of WDCs and to implement effective capacity building initiatives.

ENDS

View/download the Assessment of Women’s Development Committees in the Maldives


Between 2013 and 2014, Transparency Maldives (TM) implemented a programme to promote democracy and by extension, support the strengthening of local governance through increased civic participation and capacity building of local councils. As part of the programme, TM conducted civic education workshops and civic forums in 16 islands, with the purpose of bridging the gap between local councils and the communities they serve. The objective was to create citizen awareness and knowledge on democratic values, norms and practices and inspire citizens to participate in community affairs. In addition, the project activities sought to create space for local councils and communities to interact and promote dialogue in addressing community issues through a participatory approach; and to promote transparency and accountability of local councils.

The purpose of this report is to capture TM’s experiences and the process that was followed in achieving the above mentioned goals. The intention is that the experiences, reflection and guidelines will provide practitioners and stakeholders with a useful insight into how community consultations can be conducted in a Maldivian context; and with the tools to design and implement future interventions to strengthen local governance in the Maldives. The first part of the report provides an overview of the local government system in the Maldives including its historical context and the legislative framework. The second part provides explanations and details of civic forums, TM’s experience and case studies. The final part provides details of citizen perceptions on community engagement, followed by a conclusion.

View/download the full report ‘Civic forum: A path to community engagement’ in English and Dhivehi

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Civic forum: A path to community engagement
Civic forum: A path to community engagement


2013 was an extremely challenging year for Transparency Maldives, yet in many ways, a successful year in terms of promoting transparency, fighting corruption and institutional growth. We were often in the spotlight as the only national election domestic observer group in a highly politicized and polarized environment, following the contentious transfer of power in February 2012. Some of the challenges TM faced include security issues, including death threats, threats of dissolutions from authorities; and balancing public expectations of TM.

Despite the challenges, in 2013, we successfully advocated for passage of an international best-practices Access to Information Act, established and trained a network of over 400 volunteers across Maldives and abroad, including Singapore, India, Sri Lanka and the UK. We also conducted the Maldives’ first ever systematic elections observation, helped 38 victims and witnesses of corruption to stand up against corruption and commenced work on a campaign to increase grassroots demand for access to information.

We grew our staff number from 15 in 2012 to 22 2013, launched three publications, including the Pre-Election Assessment Presidential Elections 2013, Global Corruption Barometer 2013, An Assessment of the Climate Finances and conducted studies for an access to information baseline survey and the state of democracy study.

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Annual Report 2013


The current Associations Act and regulations adversely affects the formation and running of civil society organizations due to the ineffective and bureaucratic system that does not distinguish between foundations, charities, sports clubs, NGO’s, CBO’s and federations and imposes one set of rules on all associations leading to administrative and governance difficulties; a legal framework from 2003 that does not take into account the expansive Bill of Rights enshrined in the Chapter Two of the 2008 Constitution of Maldives 2008; no provisions and systems in the current administrative and legal framework.

Work is underway in reforming the Associations Act in oder to develop and foster an enabling environment for the civil society to flourish.The governance, transparency and functioning of CBO’s will improve if the systemic issues in the regulatory framework are addressed.

Comments and recommendations on 2003 Associations Act addresses several legal issues with the 2003 Associations Act of the Maldives.


The right to form associations is a Constitutional right in the Maldives. Civil society play a vital role in strengthening public confidence in state institutions, social stability and improving tolerance within a free and democratic society.

Maldives is signatory to several international human rights treaty bodies, of which the article 20 of the UDHR prescribes that every person shall have the freedom to assembly and association. Freedom of expression is closely linked to the freedoms to assembly and association. The articles 19, 21 and 22 of the ICCPR oblige states to provide for these freedoms through the establishment of legal mechanisms and procedures.

This paper will look at the Constitutional provision in the Maldives to freedom of association, and the legal system that ensures the implementation of this right. As such, the gaps in the existing legislation will be explored and recommendations made in order to close these gaps and move forward in conforming to international obligations and standards for an open democratic system of governance.

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Freedom of Association in Maldives – Position Paper
Freedom of Association in Maldives – Position Paper


Transparency Maldives conducted a nationwide random survey of the

Maldivian public in August 2013. The survey used repeatedly tested

survey questions and the results are reliable within a margin of error of

+⁄− 3.0%. That project was grounded in the conviction that the suc-

cessful performance of democratic institutions requires a complementary

set of supporting democratic values.

The results point to significant democratic deficits within Maldivian

political culture.

Read the full report here Democracy at the Crossroads; The Results of 2013 Maldives Democracy Survey

 

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Democracy at the Crossroads
Democracy at the Crossroads


Article 4 of the Constitution of the Maldives stipulates that

all the powers of the State of the Maldives are derived

from the citizens and remain with the citizens. The power

to elect representatives through elections ensure that the

powers of the state do remain with the citizens. Direct and

elected representatives at island and community level will

help improve local governance and the democratic system.
The purpose of this position paper is to bring to the

attention of the public and relevant institutions some of the

major systemic issues within the electoral framework and

advocate for changes to the system.

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Local Council Election 2014 – Position Paper


Article 4 of the Constitution of the Maldives stipulates that all the powers of the State of the Maldives are derived from the citizens and remain with the citizens. The power to elect representatives through elections ensure that the powers of the state do remain with the citizens. Direct and elected representatives at island and community level will help improve local governance and the democratic system.

The purpose of this position paper is to bring to the attention of the public and relevant institutions some of the major systemic issues within the electoral framework and advocate for changes to the system.

This paper highlights critical and fundamental issues in the local governance and council election systems. Transparency Maldives hopes that this paper creates discussion on these issues and paves way for the implementation of the recommendations to strengthen the local governance and council election systems.

Click to view/download full position paper in English

Click to view/download full position paper in Dhivehi


Since inception, with only three staff a little over five years ago, Transparency Maldives (TM) has expanded and diversified, undertaking anti-corruption research and advocacy programs, and consequently widening our network partnership to include several of the key institutions. TM has become a reliable force in combating corruption and promoting good governance in the Maldives. We have also become a credible voice both nationally and internationally for our efforts in leading the systematic observation of the heavily contested 2013 Presidential election, where we employed cutting edge methods and international standards in observing the election, and deployed over 400 observers across the country.

 

Having established our relevance in the national public sphere and society, at a time when the corruption scale is worsening amid extreme politicization of institutions and polarization of society, we are committed to working with our wide and diverse stakeholder base, despite the many challenges ahead in establishing tangible measures against corruption in the Maldives.

 

Using Transparency International’s best practice guidelines and with extensive stakeholder discussions analysing our priorities, Professor Arjuna Prakrama guided our stakeholder dialogue and supported the development of this strategic plan under severe personal health challenges. We thank Professor Prakrama for his contribution as the consultant for this plan.

 

We are also grateful to Transparency International for funding this project. We would also like to congratulate and thank, Iham Mohamed, TM’s previous Executive Director, for directing the project and Thoriq Hamid for managing and overseeing the successful completion of the project. I also thank all who participated in this deliberative process.

 

It is hoped that this strategic plan will guide us further and increase our collective strength in the fight against corruption to achieve progressive gains in all aspects of our multi-pronged campaign to save our society from the pernicious effects and resiliency of corruption.

 

Click to view/download the strategic plan