Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA)

start date
1 April 2016
end date
31 December 2021

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 settings affected by fragility, conflict, and violence, with a particular focus on Egypt, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria and Pakistan.

With the emergence of the pandemic in 2021, A4EA pivoted some of its research to explore the implications of Covid-19 for accountability and claims making – particularly in light of shrinking civic space in many countries around the world.

Download our report sharing key findings from Phase 1, ‘Empowerment and Accountability in Difficult Settings: What Are We Learning‘ by John Gaventa and Katy Oswald.

About the Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) programme

The A4EA programme is structured in two research phases, with a synthesis period at the end of each phase. We are currently in the final synthesis period:

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

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Image of Anuradha Joshi
Anuradha Joshi

Research Fellow

Image of Colin Anderson
Colin Anderson

Research Officer

Image of Emilie Wilson
Emilie Wilson

Communications Officer

Image of Jenny Edwards
Jenny Edwards

Project Manager

Image of John Gaventa
John Gaventa

Research Fellow and Director, Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) programme

Image of Louise Clark
Louise Clark

MEL Manager

Ali Cheema, IDEAS
Ayesha Khan, CSSR
Richard Burge
Jo Rowlands, Oxfam
Jonathan Fox, ARC
Martin Atela, PASGR



Navigating Civic Space in a Time of Covid-19

The Navigating Civic Space in a Time of Covid project examined patterns of changing civic space and civic action in Mozambique, Nigeria and Pakistan during the first nine months of the Covid-19 pandemic. How did the pandemic affect already shrinking civic space, particularly for activists and...

Recent work


Queuing for petrol in Bath and Beirut

Last week, queues for petrol across the UK snaked out of the stations all the way to the Cabinet.  Panic meetings of politicians attempted to resolve the crisis, as customers had to wait, sometimes for hours, to get access to fuel.  Many petrol stations didn’t have fuel at all.  Videos of...

8 October 2021

Working Paper

Demanding Power: Contentious Politics and Electricity in Pakistan

IDS Working Paper 551

This paper explores Pakistan’s electricity supply crisis that lasted from 2007 to 2015, and the ensuing contention that shaped public discourse and political events in the country. During this period, which witnessed electricity outages of up to 14 hours per day, 456 incidents of contention...

Image of Umair Javed
Umair Javed & 2 others

3 June 2021