Empowerment, Discrimination & Inequality
Empowerment is seen by many development agencies as a core aspect of their work, although definitions and approaches are varied. To some, empowerment is a political concept involving the collective struggle of the poor and disadvantaged; to others, it refers to the consciousness of individuals to address issues determining their lives. A definition that broadly incorporates both these views is that, “empowerment happens when individuals and organised groups are able to imagine their world differently and to realise that vision by changing the relations of power that have been keeping them in poverty” (Eyben, Kabeer and Cornwall, 2008).
Empowerment as a target and a critical driver of poverty reduction
Tania Rohrer, February 2013
Empowerment is closely linked to power, participation, ability and potential, autonomy, rights, choice and freedom. From a pro-poor growth point of view it is important that people living in poverty are involved in changing current power relations, and learn how to exert influence over the political, economic and social processes that determine and all too often, hamper, their livelihood opportunities. Read more »
Stories of Empowerment
Over the period 2009 – 2011, the DAC Poverty network sought to collect a number of practical case studies of donor involvement in facilitating empowerment processes, and to draw out the lessons learned – particularly with regard to the role of the donor. These were documented in the form of short narratives, highlighting the perspectives of different actors. In participating in this process, SDC contributed three stories – from Bangladesh, Madagascar and Mali.
The full set of stories may be found at: http://www.oecd.org/dac/povertyreduction/storiesofempowerment.htm
Understanding and Operationalising Empowerment
Cecilia Luttrell and Sitna Quiroz, October 2007
This paper presents an overview of debates surrounding the different definitions and conceptual approaches to empowerment and explores a number of conceptual issues which have practical implications for the operationalisation of empowerment. These include whether empowerment is viewed as a process or an outcome; whether an ‘agency’ or a structural approach is taken. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of these principles for working with partners and explores the potential of empowerment as a multidimensional approach for poverty reduction.
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