Empowerment

Strategies that create conditions enabling people to recognize and activate their personal and collective power are based on empowerment. When strategies build capacity and increase confidence, self-esteem, options and mobility, they can increase empowerment.

Empowerment-based strategies are effective because they make a connection between social and individual change. They provide individuals with avenues to reclaim their personal power and agency to directly address the social conditions underlying their vulnerability.

Recognizing that vulnerability to the effects of inequity and exclusion is increased by lack of information, dependency, lack of power and isolation (see Racism, Sexism and Homophobia: Social Problems/Social Factors of Vulnerability), we can design empowering strategies that specifically address these factors and decrease vulnerability by:

  • increasing access to realistic and concrete information;
  • providing skills and resources to increase personal and social power by developing autonomy and building capacity;
  • building supportive networks among peers and community resources.