Voice, empowerment and accountability: Topic guide.

This paper identifies barriers to voice, empowerment and accountability in different contexts and lessons on how to address them


Voice, empowerment and accountability (VEA) interventions 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 to hold decision-makers to account. This guide provides an overview of the best available evidence on the impact of VEA interventions. It identifies what we know about the barriers to VEA in different contexts, and emerging lessons on how to address them.

Albeit limited, the evidence presented in this guide indicates that: (i) voice and participation have had positive effects on education and health outcomes in a small number of isolated cases, but evidence of links between participation and inclusive institutions is mixed; (ii) empowerment is positively associated with improvements in health-promoting behaviour and women’s protection against violence, although there remains a gap in understanding the long-term effects of empowerment on social and political inclusion; and (iii) transparency and accountability initiatives have had mixed results, although transparency has been linked to reduced capture, and some positive impacts on access to services have been documented.


Combaz, E.; Mcloughlin, C. Voice, empowerment and accountability: Topic guide. Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2015) 27 pp.

Voice, empowerment and accountability: Topic guide.

Published 1 January 2015