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Enhancing community accountability, empowerment and education outcomes in low and middle-income countries: A realist review


Authors: Gill Westhorp, Bill Walker, Patricia Rogers, Nathan Overbeeke, Daniel Ball and Graham Brice
Published by: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London
Date: May 2014

This review extracts the circumstances under which enhancing community accountability and empowerment improves education outcomes. To answer this question, this review examines literature focusing on low and middle-income countries (LMIC); primary-school education; a focus on girls and on marginalized populations, because they are frequently disadvantaged in relation to education; public education; interventions that have, as their primary intention, improved accountability of governments and education-service providers to communities and that target, or demonstrate outcomes in relation to education; and interventions that entail local-level participation or implementation. It argues that effective interventions work through a combination of mechanisms, require a combination of strategies and take into account factors at national, sub-national and local levels and changing circumstances. The authors also demonstrate that Interventions must clarify the types of accountability they intend to address (of whom, to whom, for what, within which power relationships, and so on) and be tailored to local contexts if they are to be effective.

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