Against the Odds: Action for Empowerment and Accountability in Challenging Contexts
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How and under what conditions does citizen-led social and political action contribute to empowerment and accountability? What are the strategies used, and with what outcomes, especially in settings which are democratically weak, politically fragile and affected by legacies of violence and conflict? The A4EA programme has explored these questions in Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria and Pakistan over five years between 2016-2021. This paper presents the key findings and policy and practice implications from this research across the themes of space for citizen action; citizen-governance relations; women’s political participation and collective action; citizen-led strategies for empowerment and accountability; and enabling citizen action. It also shares important lessons drawn from A4EA experience on conducting and communicating research in complex political contexts like these, and for research consortia. Whilst the research conclusions are drawn from A4EA’s four focus countries, in an increasingly fragile and authoritarian world, the findings are becoming pertinent for more and more contexts across the globe.