Empowerment and accountability

Empowerment and accountability


How to use this guide

This guide can be read online using the links to its sections above. The full guide can also be downloaded as a PDF (56 pages; 587kB).

The guide includes one-paragraph summaries of key texts. Clicking on the link in a document title will take the reader to a second, longer summary of the document. Direct links to the original text are also given.

About this guide

Approaches to promoting Empowerment and Accountability aim to support poor and marginalised people to build the resources, assets, and capabilities they need to exercise greater choice and control over their own development and, in the process of doing so, hold decision-makers to account. The empowerment and accountability agenda can be understood as: (a) an overall approach to development; (b) a means of achieving a development objective; or (c) as an objective in itself. Primarily, however, empowerment and accountability interventions involve long-term change in which unequal power relations at household, community, local and national levels are transformed by citizens themselves.

This guide introduces key debates and evidence on concepts of empowerment and accountability, and how they have been operationalised. It discusses participatory approaches, citizenship, voice, power and transforming the relationship between citizens and the state, and emphasises the cross-cutting nature of empowerment and accountability work.

The guide was written by Seema Khan. The GSDRC appreciates the contributions of John Gaventa (Institute of Development Studies), Katja Jobes (DFID), and Isabelle Cardinal (DFID). Comments, questions or documents for consideration should be sent to enquiries@gsdrc.org.

Latest additions

The following document summary was added in March 2012:

Next page: Overview