Working Paper

IDS Working Paper 546

Who Can We Count On? Authority, Empowerment and Accountability in Mozambique

Published on 2 February 2021

In this paper, we explore the use of a governance diaries methodology to investigate poor households’ interactions with authority in fragile, conflict and violence-affected settings in Mozambique.

The research questioned the meanings of empowerment and accountability from the point of view of poor and marginalised people, with the aim of understanding what both mean for them, and how that changes over time, based on their experiences with governance. The study also sought to record how poor and marginalised households view the multiple institutions that govern their lives; providing basic public goods and services, including health and security; and, in return, raise revenues to fund these services.

The findings show that, even if the perceptions and, with them, the concepts of empowerment and accountability that emerged do not differ significantly from those identified in the literature, in terms of action and mobilisation there are distinctions. In our research sites we found that people rarely mobilise, even faced with prevalent injustices and poor basic service provision. Many claim to be ‘unable’ to influence or force ‘authorities’ to respond to their concerns and demands.

Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) research programme

This paper was produced as part of the A4EA research programme.

Cite this publication

Chaimite, E.; Forquilha, S. and Shankland, A. (2021) Who Can We Count On? Authority, Empowerment and Accountability in Mozambique, IDS Working Paper 546, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/IDS.2021.019

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Egídio Chaimite

Researcher, Institute of Social and Economic Studies (IESE)

Image of Alex Shankland

Alex Shankland

Research Fellow

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Institute of Development Studies


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