“Empowerment means for us to take strength and power from a situation that at first seemed negative and by fighting against it, achieving power.”
“Before, in Africa, I was a truck driver, but here I can't drive. Before, I used to handle everything – that is empowerment –, but here I can't.”
“Empowerment for me is having more opportunities than other people”


Theoretical Background

Empowerment is a process by which people gain control over their lives and get involved in the life of their communities through democratic participation (Rappaport, 1987), gaining a critical understanding of their environment (Zimmerman, Israel, Schulz, & Checkoway, 1992). To study the consequences of the empowering process, it is helpful to understand empowerment in terms of outcomes. Empowered outcomes for individuals might include increased perceived control (self-efficacy) as well as resource and skills mobilization (Perkins & Zimmerman, 1995). When thinking about empowerment, we can think in terms of wellness versus illness, competence versus deficits, and power to take action versus powerlessness.

Perkins, D.D. (2010). Empowerment. IN R.A. COUTO (ED.), Political and Civic Leadership: A Reference Handbook (PP. 207-218). Thousands Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Perkins, D. D., Zimmerman, M. A. (1995). Empowerment Theory, Research, and Application. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23 (5), 569–579.
Rappaport, J. (1987). Terms of Empowerment/Exemplars of Prevention: Toward a Theory for Community Psychology. American Journal of Community Psychology, 15, 121-148.
Zimmerman, M. A., Israel, B. A., Schulz, A. & Checkoway, B. (1992). Further Explorations in Empowerment Theory: An Empirical Analysis of Psychological Empowerment. American Journal of Community Psychology, 20 (6), s. 707–727.