Sakker El Dekkene aims to raise public awareness on the dangers of corruption and its high cost to the Lebanese economy, and to promote a culture of good governance and integrity. It seeks to encourage members of the public to report instances of corruption and bribery they witness or even got involved in, through a collection of tools and platforms specifically developed by its team for this purpose, including a website and smart phone application.
Sakker El Dekkene is built around the concept of visualising Lebanon as a shop where all kinds of corrupt transactions take place to get things done, especially at government offices. For change to be achieved, Lebanese have to "close the shop" which translates literally into Sakker El Dekkene in local dialect. An actual corner shop entitled "the country's shop" where "everything is for sale even your rights" was open in Gemmayzeh.
To that end, an activist pretended to be the owner promoting various products such as driving licenses and official papers. Sakker El Dekkene's car, decorated with popular proverbs on bribery and corruption, went to tens of districts. It did regular "pressure tours", parked in front of the most corrupt governmental institutions to exert pressure on public officials and civil servants and ensure citizens' engagement. The longer trips covered all regions in Lebanon raising awareness on corruption among citizens in the streets, and conducting workshops with school and universities students.
Corruption Corruption has an economy of its own in Lebanon, it acts as a growing private business. In this sense, Sakker El Dekkene works to get this "business" go bankrupt.
Since its establishment in May 2014, Sakker El Dekkene has gathered more than two thousands reports of bribes shared by citizens through the reporting tools, the application Sakkera (close it), the website, the hotline (0096176808080) and the car. It has published a survey studying public perceptions on corruption, and a second on the results of the bribes reports received so far.
In a relatively short period Sakker El Dekkene was able to raise awareness about corruption and encourage people to report bribes. Televised segments on the work of the "shop" visualized corrupt practices in many aspects of daily life, thus conveyed the message easily to the common public.
In the example below, almost everyone is "shopping" for jobs, university degrees, and driving licences, getting things done illegally. A "leader" enters and asks to "buy" electoral votes. A decent citizen is neglected and thrown outside.
The next video illustrates the work of volunteers on ground, selling "everything" with special offers, and raising awareness among citizens appreciating their message.
This video explains Sakker El Dekkene's objectives and how it is portrayed in Lebanese media.
The organisation has quickly become a creative, interactive and reliable platform in fighting corruption. The collected data is used to put pressure on corrupt administrations, businesses and organisations. As a result, for instance, the finance ministry, reported to have the largest wasted corrupt money especially in land registrations and customs, took some measures of reform.
In 2018, the organization stood again against the corruption in The South Council, one major body of the state. It refused to be silenced by politicians and took the dispute to a court that ruled in favor of the civil community and local peacebuilders to fight corruption. As a result, it came up with a new motto, "Dekkene Leaks", inspired by WikiLeaks, inviting citizens to "Share Your Stories".
Corruption is well spread in Lebanon. The October 17th, 2019 uprising was a revolt against it. The organization's team members and believers in its message were among the first to embrace the massive demonstrators and to call for massive reforms in the country.
Sakker El Dekkene organized several workshops with municipalities to enhance transparency and fight corruption in the public sphere.
It continues to call for a national authority to fight corruption and is determined to expose it even among members of Parliament, to define a strategy to reduce acts of corruption and bribery, and ensure the independence of the judiciary, especially that some judges cover the corruption of politicians and influencial businessmen. It aims to penalize illegal acquisition of wealth and the development of electronic government to eliminate intermediaries between citizens and public sector. Only then will the dekkene - 'the shop' be closed.