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Action for Empowerment and Accountability

Women's Empowerment and Leadership in Rakhine (Credit: Dustin Barter/Oxfam)

Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) is an international research programme which explores how social and political action can contribute to empowerment and accountability in fragile, conflict, and violent settings, with a particular focus on Egypt, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria and Pakistan.

These social and political actions range from state-led initiatives to improve gender equality in Egypt through the creation of Equal Opportunities Units in government ministries, donor support of civil society organisations in Mozambique to hold the government to account, and faith-based organisations in Nigeria working with local communities around issues of governance and budget-tracking.

While a great deal has been written recently on approaches to empowerment and accountability, many of the lessons and approaches have been drawn from relatively stable, and democratic settings. However, an estimated two billion people currently live in countries where these conditions do not exist and their ability to live safe and fulfilling lives is affected by war, political instability and weak or repressive governments on a daily basis. By 2030, this number is estimated to roughly double, rising to almost four billion.

In this context, the Action for Empowerment and Accountability Research Programme will:

  • Strengthen the evidence base on how and under what conditions social and political action contributes to empowerment and accountability in fragile, conflict, and violence affected settings. 
  • Provide evidence-informed practical and operational insights and lessons for donors on how they can contribute to improved empowerment and accountability outcomes.
  • Generate national, regional and international engagement and understanding of the research findings and their application across academia, civil society, the private sector and policy makers

The programme will develop and apply a variety of innovative, multi-method, interdisciplinary research strategies and data sources, both quantitative and qualitative, such as surveys, diaries which households use to record their experiences of governance, and action learning, to capture, conceptualise, measure, nuance and assess both the impact of social and political action and the interventions of donors and others on empowerment and accountability.

Action for Empowerment and Accountability is supported by UK aid from the UK Department for International Development. 

Focus countries 

The Action for Empowerment and Accountability Research Programme will focus primarily on five countries: 

  • Egypt 
  • Mozambique 
  • Myanmar 
  • Nigeria 
  • Pakistan

Oxfam GB is leading on the project in Myanmar.

Programme partners

The programme is being implemented by a consortium which includes: the Institute of Development Studies (UK), the Accountability Research Center (USA), the Collective for Social Science Research (Pakistan), the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (Pakistan), Itad (UK), the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (Kenya), and Oxfam GB (UK and Myanmar).