The year 2014 started with a major advocacy success for Transparency Maldives (TM) with the passage of the landmark Access to Information Act following 5 years of campaigning by TM. After a politically turbulent year in 2013, TM looked to 2014 with more determination to address governance issues in the country and strengthen its programs and interventions, based on the lessons learnt in 2013. In addition, a change in the leadership of TM as well as the board of TM in 2014 meant that there was new opportunity for the organisation to invoke new ideas and strategies based on the foundations laid by predecessors.

As in previous years, we continued with our engagement and outreach in communities across the country, undertook research to understand corruption loopholes in various sectors, held discussions with multiple institutions and raised our voice on various platforms to advocate for the cause we believe in.

In the past year, we were also fortunate to receive exposure opportunities for our staff to share knowledge and learn from partners in the region and strengthen our collaboration and partnerships with multiple stakeholders to drive our agenda of change. Our engagements with various stakeholders from local councillors and youth actors to international partners always provide us with new insights to shape our programs.

Unlike previous years, in 2014, we travelled across the country to deliver civic education to young people as we believe the state of democracy in the Maldives requires a long term strategy of education for young people on democratic values and grassroots mobilisation to strengthen democracy in the Maldives.  As such, our ‘Democracy Talks’ in schools and ‘Civic Forums’ in various islands proved to be immensely eye opening and rewarding.

We also focused on shaping policy and transforming behaviours through a series of high level events, roundtables and lobbying on issues related to corruption, democracy, and migrant worker rights to name a few. Most notably, we drafted an Associations Act in line with international best practice and standards and held a symposium to bring stakeholders together to collectively lobby for a best practice NGO law in the Maldives.

Despite immense governance challenges for the country, and the precarious environment in which TM operates, TMs efforts to promote good governance and eliminate corruption has been possible through the tireless dedication of its staff, who continue to put in extraordinary effort, as well as our board members, who give their time and expertise to guide the work of TM.

TM is grateful for the generosity of its funders and the time given by volunteers and interns who have continued to believe in our cause.

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Annual Report 2014


Criminalising the offence of illicit enrichment is a matter or urgency in the Maldives. Several studies and surveys undertaken by Transparency Maldives to assess the public perception of corruption in the Maldives indicate the prevalence of grand corruption by officials at the upper echelons of the state. The Global Corruption Barometer Survey undertaken in 2013 indicate that while 97 percent of respondents believe that corruption is a problem at the public sector, the Parliament – followed closely by political parties and the judiciary – is perceived to be the most corrupt institution in the country. This finding corroborates with the Democracy Survey conducted in 2013, which found that representative institutions such as the Parliament are where the public have the least confidence. Allegations and speculations of corruption in the public sphere is common, particularly with regards to illicit enrichment in parliamentary floor crossing and Cabinet Ministers’ sudden increase in significant wealth.
View/download the position paper ‘Criminalising illicit enrichment to curb grand corruption in English and Dhivehi.


Youth constitutes a high percentage of the population of Maldives. Recent governments have increasingly been targeting their policies and programmes on the development of young people. Youth features heavily on the present Government’s manifesto as well,with a specific chapter devoted to youth, as well as youth considerations included in chapters related to other areas. However,  as with most other facilities and services in the country, entrenched and systemic illegal and corrupt practices impede equal access to these opportunities for young people.

The objective of this assessment was to undertake a situational analysis focusing on youth as victims of corruption, and areas where young people become victims of corruption, specifically focusing on the areas, of higher education, housing, employment, health services, and leadership and civic engagement. Key policy personnel from the sectors related to the assessment and youth groups were interviewed, as well as young people from across the country.

View/download ‘Youth, opportunities and corruption in the Maldives: A situational analysis’


Transparency Maldives conducted its second Democracy Survey between May 20, and June 15, 2015. A benchmark Democracy Survey was conducted in the run up to the 2013 Presidential Elections.

As in 2013 survey, the 2015 nationwide random survey of the Maldivian public mostly used repeatedly tested questions. The results are reliable within a margin of error of ±2.95%.

Democracy surveys such as this one are widely conducted throughout the world. These surveys are grounded in the belief that successful democratisation requires a corresponding set of supporting democratic values, orientations, and attitudes.

The 2015 Democracy Survey data indicates positive developments in some general democratic values and orientations held by citizens. However, the data also indicates worrying continuities and developments in some other aspects.

Read the full report ‘A troubled future for Democracy: The results of the 2015 Maldives Democracy Survey’.

*Note that Figure 21 has been updated since the report was first published


The estimated official figure of the migrant population in Maldives, according to the latest census, is 58,683. The unofficial estimates are around 200,000 bringing the size of the migrant population in Maldives up to more than half of the country’s total population. Regardless of this figure, migrant workers have few rights and state redress mechanisms are not accessible to these workers, further victimizing those who are already being exploited in forced labor conditions. The language barrier and the lack of public interest litigators in the country further limit their access to justice.

A high number of migrant workers, especially those working as manual laborers, often sell all their assets to come to the Maldives and are reliant on their new employers for sustenance — for themselves and their families back at home. Often times, they face threats or even violence for speaking up about injustices. Their living quarters are generally provided by their employers, so if they are dismissed they also lose their shelter. The majority of cases that the Transparency Maldives’ Legal Advice Center receives from migrant workers include complaints of non-payment of wages, often for months, withholding of travel documents and identification, and inhumane living conditions.

Migrant workers live and work in unimaginable conditions, sometimes being forced to do work that is not permitted in their work permits. They are underpaid or unpaid, their passports and identification documents withheld by agents and employers, effectively crippling workers from rectifying their situation or reaching out to the justice system.

The Legal Advice Center provides free legal advice and assistance to expatriates and Maldivian citizens. Over the past three years, we have assisted over 560 migrant workers with cases of non-payment of wages, unacceptable working conditions, poor housing, withholding of their passport by employment agencies and employers, and being forced to do work that is not defined in their employment mandates.

These are not newly emerging issues and they closely reflect the findings reported in U.S Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report (2014). The report notes fraudulent recruitment, confiscation of identity and travel documents, withholding or non-payment of wages, or debt bondages as some of the forced labor situations faced by the migrant workers in Maldives.

While the necessary regulations such as Regulation on Expatriates Working in Maldives and Regulation on Bringing Expatriates to the Maldives for the purpose of Employment are in place, the issues arise from the lack of implementation, monitoring and enforcement of said regulations.

This exhibition is a platform provided by Transparency Maldives for local artists to showcase their thoughts and perceptions on the issues faced by migrant workers in the country. We hope that the exhibition will raise the public’s interest and awareness of the plight and conditions of migrant workers.

View/download the catalogue from the exhibition ‘OTHERS’.


An independent government created by the people and its governing structure is based on protecting its citizens’ freedoms and rights. Freedom of press, freedom of expression, access to education, shelter, transportation, clean environments etc. and other provisions of the second chapter of the constitution cannot be completed without the freedom of information.

Citizen participation is a fundamental aspect of a democracy. Citizens cannot participate in the governance of a democratic state without access to information. The constitution provides freedom of thought and speech, within the tenets of Islam, to its citizens. Thought and speech must be based on valid information, thus the right to access valid information is vital to uphold the constitutional right of thought and speech.

A clear majority of Maldivian citizens do not trust the government and its institutions. Similarly, a clear majority of the populace accuses these institutions and political figures of corruption. This trust can be gained through transparency and accessibility to valid information.

Read the position paper ‘Challenges to interpreting and implementing the RTI Act’.


As representatives working on behalf of their communities it is crucial to be informed of the policies being formulated in the area of climate change in the Maldives. As climate change affects vulnerable communities the most, it is important to get their voices heard at national and global policy making forums. It is important to advocate and lobby to bring about policies that would ensure communities who are facing the adverse effects of climate change are protected from its consequences. It is also important to ensure that the climate change programs being implemented in the country are the most needed in the area of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Finally, it is vital to ensure that climate funds coming into the country is governed through a transparent framework with clear lines of accountability laid out.

View/download brochure on ‘The role of civil society in influencing climate policy’ in English and Dhivehi.


The Maldives, a poster child country for the global climate movement, is one of the most vulnerable countries to the ill effects of climate change. On average lying just 1.5 meters above mean sea level, the

Maldives is vulnerable to rising sea level and coastal flooding. In recent years the Maldives has received significant amount of funds, in the form of grants and loans from various international donors and organizations, to aid the country in its efforts to combat the negative effects of climate change.

Between 2011-2013 it is estimated that the Maldives spent USD 2.87 million from its national budget for various climate adaptation and mitigation activities. A further USD 168.17 million is committed for various adaptation and mitigation activities through externally funded grants and loans for the period 2011-2017.3

The large amount of funds coming into the country for climate change mitigation and adaptation poses questions on the governance mechanisms established to safeguard climate funds for its intended purpose. How effective are the anti corruption safeguards in the country in monitoring the use of climate funds? How inclusive and transparent is the decision making process of climate funds? How does the government approve and prioritize areas for climate change projects?

Through Transparency Maldives’ Climate Finance Integrity Program, it is hoped that these questions on transparency, accountability, integrity and inclusivity of climate funds would be addressed through advocacy and awareness-raising, and by engaging the public in the discourse.

Read TM’s position paper on Climate Finance Governance in Maldives in English and Dhivehi.


This review is undertaken with the aim to provide an update on major developments in climate finance governance in the Maldives since the publication of the assessment in 2013. With the change in government in November 2013 and the subsequent political reshuffling, significant changes have been observed in climate policies and the governance framework of climate finance. Through consultation with relevant stakeholders and review of developments in policies and legislation, the following is a brief overview of the changes observed in climate funders, policies, governance structure, procurement, coordination, implementation and monitoring. This review does not seek to alter the assessments, findings and recommendations of the 2013 assessment.

Read the full review An Assessment of Climate Finance Governance in Maldives: New Edition 2015


Transparency Maldives under the Parliament Accountability Project conducted in the hope of increasing public understanding of the Parliament’s role, function and practices, and, by extension, generate public demand for Parliament accountability and transparency, undertook a baseline research on floor crossing in the Maldives.

As an organization that focuses on good governance and the elimination of corruption in the Maldives, it is imperative that Transparency Maldives’ interventions focus on building public confidence in key representative institutions such as the Parliament. Floor crossing is an issue that is often discussed in the Maldives alongside speculation of corruption in the process of floor crossing. However, there is limited understanding of why and how floor crossing occurs, and how public perceives this.

Corruption, particularly grand corruption, is endemic in the Maldives but there is no evidence to suggest that with every party defection or floor crossing there is a flow of illicit enrichment behind it. However, considering the lack of transparency in asset disclosure by public officials in the Maldives, coupled with the public perception that corruption is high in the Parliament, it is important that best practices are adhered to, in order to ensure that floor crossing does not open a gateway for illicit enrichment and becomes a reason for public to lose trust in the Parliament.

Transparency Maldives undertook this research on the basis that understanding of public perception on floor crossing will provide insight into why the public lacks confidence in the Parliament. It is hoped that international best practices and case studies of defection laws and practice in other countries will broaden stakeholder understanding of floor crossing and provide a baseline to take the discussion forward.

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Baseline Research on Floor Crossing in the Maldives


Transparency Maldives under the Parliament Accountability Project conducted in the hope of increasing public understanding of the Parliament’s role, function and practices, and, by extension, generate public demand for Parliament accountability and transparency, undertook a baseline research on floor crossing in the Maldives.

As an organization that focuses on good governance and the elimination of corruption in the Maldives, it is imperative that Transparency Maldives’ interventions focus on building public confidence in key representative institutions such as the Parliament.

Floor crossing is an issue that is often discussed in the Maldives alongside speculation of corruption in the process of floor crossing. However, there is limited understanding of why and how floor crossing occurs, and how public perceives this.

Corruption, particularly grand corruption, is endemic in the Maldives but there is no evidence to suggest that with every party defection or floor crossing there is a flow of illicit enrichment behind it. However, considering the lack of transparency in asset disclosure by public officials in the Maldives, coupled with the public perception that corruption is high in the Parliament, it is important that best practices are adhered to, in order to ensure that floor crossing does not open a gateway for illicit enrichment and becomes a reason for public to lose trust in the Parliament.

Transparency Maldives undertook this research on the basis that understanding of public perception on floor crossing will provide insight into why the public lacks confidence in the Parliament. It is hoped that international best practices and case studies of defection laws and practice in other countries will broaden stakeholder understanding of floor crossing and provide a baseline to take the discussion forward.

View/download the Baseline Research on Floor Crossing the Maldives in English and Dhivehi

Download
Baseline Research on Floor Crossing in the Maldives


This position paper is submitted to the Maldivian Parliament by the Civil Society Organisations (CSO)-Parliament Dialogue Group, which was formed in December 2014 under the Parliament Accountability Project run by Transparency Maldives (TM) and funded by the British High Commission.

The aim of this position paper is to highlight the essential role civil society organisations (CSOs) play in the policy process, and bring to attention the importance of strengthening the interaction between civil society and the Parliament.

This paper contains two main sections. The first section gives a brief overview of the CSO-Parliament Dialogue Group, including its objectives and the challenges faced in its formulation.

The second section identifies problems in the parliamentary system that hinder the participation of CSOs in the policy process, and also lists key recommendations the Dialogue Group believes will help CSOs to fulfil their function as non-state actors representing public interests and concerns.

1. CSO-Parliament Dialogue GroupThe Dialogue Group, to date, consists of eight CSOs and three MPs:

  1. Transparency Maldives
  2. Islamic Foundation
  3. Hope For Women
  4. Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC)
  5. Maldives Association for Physical Disables (MAPD)
  6. Society for Health Education (SHE)
  7. Care Society
  8. Journey
  9. Ali Hussain (Kendhoo Constituency)
  10. Imthiyaz Fahmy (Maafannu Uthuru Constituency)
  11. Anaaraa Naeem (Makunudhoo Constituency)

The primary objective of the Dialogue Group is to provide CSOs and the Parliament with a platform to engage and collaborate together. Current reality in the Maldives is that civil society engagement with the Parliament is almost non-existent. This lack of engagement between CSOs and the Parliament is due to various reasons:

  • A lack of available platforms and mechanisms for both parties to engage in constructive discussion.
  • A lack of formalised space or established framework through which CSOs can effectively influence policy and provide subject-specific policy advice.
  • A lack of knowledge and capacity of CSOs to engage in the policy process.
  • A lack of political will to build a culture conducive to creating and nurturing a participatory civil society.
  • A lack of trust between civil society actors and MPs.

The Dialogue Group was formed to address these issues, and more importantly, to forge a collaborative partnership between civil society and the Parliament.

View/download the position paper in Dhivehi