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 genuinley 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

It might be helpful to consider the following points about community empowerment before going on to the next page

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This is a ‘pick up and think’ resource. It’s an explanation and exploration of where ‘changes’ is coming from in our work around community development, community empowerment and community influence. It brings together 15+ years of our experience – and many more from those who have inspired us – into something which we find helpful in our quest to interpret the world around us and the complexity of the power relationships between people and organisations.