Fellow Since 2008
This profile was prepared when Jayasuriya Weliamuna was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Weli has rejected the traditional adversarial approach towards addressing corruption in Sri Lanka, and has replaced it with a systemic, positive anti-corruption strategy. He engages public sector officers perceived as highly corrupt, and offers them positive incentives to change their ways, including future recognition and affirmation. Simultaneously, Weli identifies the most upstanding officials and engages them as champions for building a system of integrity. In a country where citizens tend to blame corruption on civil servants, Weli is encouraging honest state officers to be recognized, as well as creating unique public incentives for once-corrupt civil servants to participate in the campaign to end corruption among their ranks. The Clean Hands Campaign and Integrity Award are Weli’s intertwined strategies to create a forum of high officials in government who are committed to a transparent, corruption-free delivery of government services. In support of this, Weli has developed an Integrity Pledge that provides a binding values-based framework of commitment that can be adopted by all segments of civil society. Weli has also developed the National Anti-Corruption Council and Awareness Forum as a platform for all like-minded institutions to share knowledge and build commitment. Through this forum, he has brought important new issue areas like the environment to the forefront of his campaign. The newest component of Weli’s plan is to establish a National Learning Center for Good Governance to educate the general public and create a broad movement against corruption. Currently he is affiliating the center within Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) and hopes to see it become a living public repository for anti-corruption discourse.