Community Empowerment

Exploring community empowerment

There are many assumptions connected with the term and practice of ‘community empowerment’ which make both concept and application problematic, confusing and potentially meaningless.

CE assumptions

Research indicates that a lack of genuinely empowering approaches in the past may have left a legacy of people, and communities, feeling: disillusioned, cynical, ‘apathetic’, disinterested, angry, confrontational and over-consulted.

Staff working in both public and voluntary sectors, engaging with people in communities, often face this reality. It can be helpful to remember how easy it is for people to feel disempowered and how various engagement ‘activities’ can take place in ways which are ‘more empowering’ than others.