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Charities least trusted in Sudan, Lebanon, Serbia, survey says

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Self-dealing, kickbacks, cutting corners on construction, non-tendered contracts to close friends and family. Corruption comes in countless forms, both in the developing and developed world alike.

A new survey suggests the non-profit sector that purports to help the world's most needy is in need of a new image in many corners of the world.

In a recently released Transparency International survey of 114,000 people in 107 countries, respondents were asked to share their views on corruption in the NGO world.

On the scale of 1 to 5, with 1 as “not at all corrupt” and 5 as “extremely corrupt,” the average corruption rating of NGOs was 2.7.

First the good news. That 2.7 average suggests that NGOs are perceived as the second least-corrupt category behind religious bodies at 2.6.

NGOs scored more favourably than the military (2.9), the media (3.1) and the education system (3.2). Political parties (3.8) and police (3.7) were the institutions perceived by respondents as being the most corrupt.

As for the countries where NGOs are viewed most skeptically, Sudan (4.0), South Sudan (3.7), Lebanon (3.7) and Serbia (3.7) led the way. Yemen was close behind (3.5).

Other nations that ranked relatively high in the index were Venezuela (3.4), Tanzania (3.4), Israel (3.3), Russia (3.3), and Peru (3.3).

With an average score of 2.7, Canada was smack in the middle of the survey, while countries where NGOs are viewed favourably include Burundi (1.4), Rwanda (1.6), Bangladesh (1.7), and Jamaica (1.9).

Rick Westhead is a foreign affairs writer at The Star. He was based in India as the Star’s South Asia bureau chief from 2008 until 2011 and reports on international aid and development. Follow him on Twitter @rwesthead



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