This paper explores the role and experience of external actors, particularly donors, in supporting social and political action in fragile, conflict and violence affected settings.
Evidence is distilled from a wide range of synthesised sources to generate relevant findings and questions in relation to what we know and what we don’t. Included among the source material is a 2016 macro-evaluation of DFID’s empowerment and accountability (E&A) programmes which examined over 50 DFID funded projects.
Themes which emerge relate to how external actors need to think about the context and work politically; who are the most appropriate social and political actors to support in E&A; whether a direct or indirect approach to support for E&A achieves more tangible outcomes; whether external actors should move beyond short-term tools and tactics focused on one-sided engagement; and whether programmes should be designed around more strategic, multi-faceted interventions. The paper concludes with identifying a number of gaps in the evidence which are translated into a range of questions which could potentially inform the Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) research programme.