Funky Citizens is a Bucharest-based NGO that strives to improve the civic literacy of Romania’s citizens through a wide array of attention-grabbing projects. Radu Szucs describes that they try to act as an interface, explaining and ‘translating’ and the information provided by the state institutions.
Their most famous project is banipublici.ro (Public Money), a budget simulator that helps taxpayers understand the decision-making processes involved in public spending. Another success was a series of info graphics in a Bucharest nightlife magazine, providing information on the elections, parliament and civic rights.
They also work on advocacy, convincing public institutions to improve their transparency. The Romanian political system has been known to have major corruption issues. In Transparency International’s latest Corruption Index, Romania ranks as one of the most corrupt countries in the EU, second to only Italy and Bulgaria.
Funky Citizens raises attention for this issue with a series of specifically designed projects. Among these you can find a corrupt politician sticker game – “collect them all” – and an online reviewing tool for bribes, where ‘customers’ can indicate where they had to pay a bribe, the sum of money involved and rate their level of satisfaction with a smiley.
“This one was a bit controversial actually”, laughs Radu. “People thought we were encouraging bribes, but you can also leave a review for the places where you didn’t have to pay a bribe for services. So in the end this tool helps to find places that are not corrupt.”
Their methods might be a bit cheeky, but their intentions are clear. Radu: “Our goal is to civilly educate Romania, one citizen at a time.”