Empowerment: What does it mean to you?


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The “Definitions of Empowerment” represents a collaborative effort, made possible by the answers received from people all over the world on the Empowerment theme. Their invaluable contributions were essential for the preparation of the Empowerment Publication.
In order to collect people’s ideas and experiences, the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) of UNDESA launched an on-line survey on “Promoting Empowerment of People”.
We were glad to receive tens and tens of responses from young individuals, persons with disabilities, older persons, and people working for various institutions and organizations committed to social development issues. Their keen interest on Empowerment remembered us the constantly growing importance this topic has in our society.
We welcomed and carefully screened all the answer from the on-line community, but due to the large volume of contributions, we were not able to include all of them inside the “Definitions of Empowerment”.
They were all precious, since they provided us a unique overview of what empowerment means for people with different origins, cultures and languages.
The Division for Social Policy and Development is grateful for the many contributions received, which enabled each other as well as readers of the Empowerment survey, to share and learn from their experiences and believes.
The booklet is published by the United Nations Social Development Network, DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development.

For more information: http://social.un.org/index/Home/tabid/40/news/335/Default.aspx

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Empowerment: What does it mean to you?

  1. 1. at the International Conference on “People’s Empowerment and Remarks of UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon Development”, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 5 August 2012. This International Conference on People’s Empowerment and These aspirations are embodied in many national laws andDESA Development comes at a particularly opportune time. The international agreements. Measures to ensure complianceThe Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) of the United Nations Secretariat is a vital interface between recently concluded United Nations Conference on Sustainable with these laws and agreements should be an integral part ofglobal policies in the economic, social and environmental spheres and national action. The Department works in three Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, adopted an action-oriented development strategies.main interlinked areas: (i) it compiles, generates and analyses a wide range of economic, social and environmental outcome document on “The Future We Want”.  Empowerment isdata and information on which Member States of the United Nations draw to review common problems and take critical for attaining that future. We must also harness the power of new communicationsstock of policy options; (ii) it facilitates the negotiations of Member States in many intergovernmental bodies on tools and technologies. Access to information is a key meansjoint courses of action to address ongoing or emerging global challenges; and (iii) it advises interested Governments Empowerment is not new to the United Nations. Our long-standing for enabling the citizenry to hold Governments and otherson the ways and means of translating policy principles developed at United Nations conferences and summits into efforts to protect human rights, promote job creation and obtain accountable.programmatic frameworks at the country level and; through technical assistance, it helps build national capacities. improved access to water, sanitation, energy, education and health care all have empowerment at their core — the goal of ensuring This international conference is an important opportunity toDSPD that people have the opportunities they need to live better lives explore these and other issues. Your deliberations can also in dignity and security. But we are also exploring new frontiers of contribute to those of the Commission for Social Development,The Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) is part of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs empowerment. With the establishment of UN-Women, the effort which next year will address the issue of promoting(DESA) of the United Nations Secretariat. The Division seeks to strengthen international cooperation for social to empower the world’s women and achieve gender equality empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, socialdevelopment, particularly in the areas of poverty eradication, productive employment and decent work and the received an important boost. We are also focusing greater integration and full employment and decent work for all. social inclusion of older persons, youth, family, persons with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, persons in situationsof conflict and other groups or persons marginalized from society and development. attention on empowering the next generation through our work on youth. These are two critical planks of my action agenda for Empowerment is a key means to achieving sustainable the next five years. development and other vital goals. But it also has a value inNote and of itself.The views expressed in the present report are those of the authors and do not imply the expression of any opinion By looking at empowerment and development together, you areon the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations, particularly concerning the legal status of any country, territory, focusing welcome attention on issues that matter most in the lives Thank you for your commitment to this effort. I wish you acity or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The term “country” of families and their communities — opportunities for decent productive conference.as used in the text of this report also refers, as appropriate, to territories or areas. Mention of the names of firms work, the chance to enjoy basic services and participate fully inand commercial products does not imply the endorsement of the United Nations. the political life of their countries.
  2. 2. Message from Mr. Wu Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Remarks at the “Expert Group Meeting on Promoting Empowerment of People in Achieving Poverty Eradication, Social Integration and Full Employment and Decent Work for All” New York, 10-12 September 2012.ExcellencesDistinguished ExpertsColleagues,I am delighted to join you at this expert group meeting. Many of the actions set forth in this historic outcome will advanceNormally, Under-Secretaries-General do not speak at expert group people’s empowerment and development …. through:meetings.  They are for experts to attend. Many would argue that • poverty reduction;USGs are no longer considered experts. Despite this, I took the • job creation;decision to come and share with you a few personal thoughts, • improved access to water, sanitation and energy;because I think empowerment is an extremely important matter.  • public services such as education and better health care; andIt has significant policy implications.  • social integration overall.Empowerment is critical to poverty eradication and to development.Indeed, I would even say that any long-term solution to poverty This expert group meeting is a timely opportunity for a thoroughmust start with empowerment. examination of how people can contribute to these efforts. The poor and vulnerable may need short-term assistance in times The UN System is now mobilized to work together toward aof crisis.  But we should not underestimate the power of initiative future we want – toward a global agenda beyond 2015, withand ownership.  More often than not, poor people do not need sustainable development at its core. In order to attain that future,charity.  They need policies and tools that empower them to lead we need to ensure that people have the opportunities they needproductive lives. to live better lives.In this regard, I want to compliment the organizers for selectingempowerment as the focus of this meeting. As a start, it is important to focus on actions that can institutionalizeThe United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held measures for empowerment, through improved access to resources,in Rio de Janeiro in June this year, also known as Rio+20, adopted public services, including education and training, and throughan action-oriented outcome document on “The Future We Want”. income generating opportunities, especially for women and youth.
  3. 3. Message from Ms. Daniela Bas Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development of UNDESAIndeed, people’s aspirations are embodied in many national laws I am sure that your conclusions will help the Commission advance When I was six years old, I became paraplegic due to a very rare tumor and in thoseand international agreements. Measures to ensure compliance our understanding of the role of empowerment even further. years children with disabilities were not allowed to attend ordinary school. I succeededwith these laws and agreements should be an integral part of because my parents and the director of the primary school understood that I was thedevelopment strategies. Going forward, let us be very clear: Empowerment is a key means same Daniela as before. They empowered me.At the same time, we must also harness the power of new to achieving sustainable development and other vital goals. But itcommunications tools and technologies. Access to information is also has a value in and of itself. We must not lose sight of the need Empowerment has many meanings. I think ultimately it is about people and thea key means in holding Governments and others accountable. to empower all individuals and groups on our shared planet. human potential. Empowerment does not have to be grand. Small successes can boostIt also helps level the playing field for the young generation.  In the coming months, the United Nations will elaborate on a your self-confidence and really be empowering. I became, and I wanted to be againOther tools are vital in helping to engage people more directly. United Nations development agenda beyond 2015. Sustainable independent. I had to fight again stereotypes and prejudices and trust me, employmentMicro-credit programmes are among these, which help to facilitate development agenda will be at the core of this post-2015 agenda.  was not easy but at that point, I empowered myself.greater empowerment opportunities for youth and women. As you know, sustainable development has three inter-linkedCountries around the world continue to celebrate the 2012 dimensions – economic, social and environmental.  The social Striving for development and seeking to empower others are very important. TheInternational Year of Cooperatives, and, indeed, the benefits that dimension has been considered weak in relation to the other Commission for Social Development knows it and decided to focus its next session oncooperatives deliver to the communities they serve.  The Year has two.  Moreover, unlike economic growth, the social dimension is empowerment through the eradication of poverty, decent work and social integration.raised public awareness of the power of cooperatives to advance more difficult to quantify. But it is no less important.  I hope thiseconomic and social development. And it has been particularly expert group meeting will take this into account when you discuss We have a unique chance to contribute and to help share future policies that can have asuccessful in helping to promote cooperatives as empowering, empowerment. major impact on people’s empowerment across the globe.member-driven and community-oriented enterprises.Your deliberations on these and other issues can contribute I wish you success in your deliberations and I look forward to theto those of the Commission for Social Development, which next summary of this meeting.  I promise you that I will read it from Empower Yourself and Inspire the World!year will address the issue of promoting empowerment of cover to cover. Daniela Bas,people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration Directorand full employment and decent work for all.  Thank you.
  4. 4. Acknowledgment Introduction Empowerment is not a new term to the United Nations. The meeting has decided that the most appropriateThe “Definitions of Empowerment” contained in this publication represent a collaborative effort, It is the process of enabling people to increase control definition of Empowerment was as an iterative processmade possible by the answers received from people across the world on the theme of Empowerment. over their lives, to gain control over the factors and with key components including an enabling environmentTheir invaluable contributions were essential for the preparation of this publication. decisions that shape their lives, to increase their resources that encourages popular participation in decision-making and qualities and to build capacities to gain access, that affects the achievement of goals like povertyIn order to collect people’s ideas and experiences, the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) partners, networks, a voice, in order to gain control. eradication, social integration and decent work for all asof UNDESA launched an on-line survey on “Promoting Empowerment of People”. well as sustainable development. Empowerment is now increasingly used and connectedWe were glad to receive tens and tens of responses from young individuals; persons with disabilities, older to social development groups such as poor people, youth, DSDP has launched an online survey from 8 August topersons, and people working for various institutions and organizations committed to social development older persons, persons with disabilities, Indigenous 5 September 2012 on “Promoting Empowerment ofissues. Their keen interest on Empowerment reminded us about the growing importance of this topic in Peoples and marginalized people. People”. It has received tens and tens of responses.our society. The survey featured different definitions of Empowerment The Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) related to the enhancement of the capabilities of socialWe welcomed and carefully screened all the answers from the on-line community, but due to the large of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social groups including youth, older persons, persons withvolume of contributions, we were unable to include all of them. Affairs (UN-DESA) has organized an Expert Group Meeting disabilities, and Indigenous Peoples to fully participate (EGM) on “Promoting Empowerment of People in in all aspects of society and promoting enabling social,They were all precious, since they provided a unique overview of what Empowerment means for people economic, cultural and political conditions that can helpwith different origins, cultures and languages. them take control of their own development and future. Achieving Poverty Eradication, Social Integration and from 10 to 12 September 2012 in New York at the UnitedThe Division for Social Policy and Development is grateful for the many contributions received, which Full Employment and Decent Work for All” Nations Headquarters. The meeting was convened to help This publication contains definitions of Empowermentenabled readers of the Empowerment survey, to share and learn from their experiences and beliefs. prepare the priority theme for the 51st session of the selected from our survey, which is available online at the Commission for Social Development in February 2013. following link:Thank you to all of you for making this possible! http://social.un.org/empowerment.
  5. 5. “Allowing every individual to “Empowerment means that discovery/realization of ones “Power to achieve political, “Empowerment is the “A balance between liberty “Empowerment can bemake free choices and achieve those who become empowered own capacities (based on the social, and economic equality...” process of increasing the and equality (one can understood in two differentthe full of their capacities.” have the ability to take control idea that absolutely everyone capacity of individuals or actually cancel out the other dimensions: 1. to develop the of their lives and fortunes has something meaningful to groups to make choices and to when out of balance) and a competences and capacities with the help of government contribute). The discovery of transform those choices into freedom of expression and of of individuals: to educate Kenneth Schadt and civil society. In order to ones capacity and relevance desired actions and outcomes. participation.” and to qualify individuals,Ignacio Socias History and Literature Tutor be empowered, both men and for others can trigger a This could be in various special target groups suchDirector of International Relations “For me empowering means women must have the same desire to actively shape forms such as capacity as children, women, elderlyInternational Federation for Family people socially integrated and rights and privileges and the ones environment. People building (trainings) as well as persons and / or familiesDevelopment Moraig Henderson have economic, social and same opportunities, especially feel empowered, because provision of resources in form to improve their skills and Deputy Chief “To me empowerment is political power irrespective of in employment and decent they realize that they can of material and or financial knowledge so that they are UNDP about three dimensions: their life situation, economic“Empowerment is a process work.” make a difference, which in support. It could also be the able to generate income a) how the individual or conditions and physicaland an outcome. The process turn makes them want to giving or delegation of power “The respect of human dignity and improve the quality of community perceive(s) and disabilities.”through which people attain make a difference. A feeling or authority to an individual and of all human rights; their everyday live and can judge(s) their capacity to or group giving them the meaningful participation in theknowledge and skills that of disempowerment often contribute to the development Maryann Tarantula play a role, b) the desire to ability/permission or planning, implementation andwill allow them to first causes passivity. Moreover of the society. 2.The means United Nations Committee chairman play a meaningful role in Sr. Ursula Khalkhoacknowledge the need for empowerment is of course enabling them to embark on evaluation of the policies and to develop / to enable the Zonta International society and c) the spaces and Ursuline Sisters of the Congregationa change, and then change “Empowerment means that related to the objective or execute various intentions.” programs that affect our lives.” preconditions for individuals: opportunities created and of Tildonksomething about their lives. people, individuals have a possibility and existing spaces basic requirements such provided for the capacity toIt is a process of awakening voice in making decisions for come to play. The first step is to play a role and to be heard.” “Strategies and actions as peace, gender equality,certain potentials that allow human rights, or available Martin Daka themselves and for society.” that increase peoples and/ Cristina Diez Saguillo about making people realizepeople to take action, to food, access to land and micro Archdiocese of Lusaka Health and Director of International Relations their potential, existing or communities’ autonomy Gender Coordinatorvoice and formulate the need, credits or adequate education Training and self-determination in Simona Costanzo SOW specific knowledge and Caritas Lusakato speak, to advocate for systems are necessary to International Movement Atd Fourth improving their current and Project Manager for the MDG/post expertise and strengthen Donald Horowitzthemselves, or for others. enable individuals, special 2015 project World their capacity in various areas future life conditions, as well Federation of Jewish Men’s ClubsThe outcome maybe means “Empowerment is to give a target groups such as women, United Nations Volunteers in order for an individual as changing political andsimply being able to recognize “Empowerment is socio-economic dominant person the confidence and elderly persons and / or or community to play aand know the moment when supporting people in such “Empowerment is giving to and oppressive structures/ education and where-with-all families to improve their meaningful role in their ownand how to stand up for a way as to enable them to people or groups the strength systems.” to be all that they can be.” wellbeing.” or their community/society’soneself or for others.” accomplish goals that will and knowledge needed to development and to make improve life for all.” help them overcome their (life) choices. It’s about the obstacles.” subjective feeling (trusting Salvatore Romagna Sandra Lincoln Anne v. Laufenberg-Beermann yourself) as well as theBojana Beric Secretary General Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Executive Director  Assistant Professor on Health Studies Eva Boone International Cultural Youth Exchange American Province International Federation for HomeMonmouth University Ursuline Sisters Nick Penland - ICYE Province Leadership Team Member Economics
  6. 6. “I heard about empowerment “For me, being empowered “To me the term Empowerment “Empowerment is the own choice, life of dignity in “When I hear the word when I was working in means knowing and means that an individual or expansion of freedom of accordance with one’s values, Empowerment it means the STD/HIV Intervention trusting that you are in full the community having power choice and action. It means capable of fighting for one’s that I have been given the Program (Durbar Mahila control of your own destiny. and being able to use the increasing one’s authority and rights, independence, own tools, education, and support Samanaya Committee), Empowerment implies power in a creative way that control over the resources decision making, being free, to accomplish my goals. there I worked among the freedom to choose without fear.” enables a qualitative life for and decisions that affect one’s awakening, and capability—to When I am empowered, I can marginalized community/ oneself, community and the life. As people exercise real mention only a few. These accomplish these things on Sex workers, to make them whole world including the choice, they gain increased definitions are embedded my own without any major capable to voice their Planet Earth.” control over their lives. in local value and belief outside support, thus gaining Claudia LaRue rights, making them aware Poor people’s choices are systems.” the ability to feel good about First Secretary about the HIV infection and extremely limited, both The Dominican Republic Permanent my accomplishments.” implementing the preventive by their lack of assets and Mission to the United Nations Fatima Rodrigo measures. They raised by their powerlessness to International Presentation Association Henry Oriokot their voice to legalize their negotiate better terms for of the Sisters of the Presentation of “Empowerment is utilizing Brianna Plaza profession, voting rights themselves with a range of the Blessed Virgin Mary “Empowerment means to Development and Communications and right to healthy living. the skills, knowledge and enrich people with basic institutions, both formal and Specialist Empowerment means active informal. Since powerlessness confidence. You have to skills of livelihood through International Institute of Rural“For me it conjures up images participation in decision- is embedded in the nature of make choices to maximize Reconstruction education, providing skilled “Empowerment is gaining opportunities that help youof people gaining greater making, equal opportunity, institutional relations, in the based training to earn more economic independence to realize your potential. Nocontrol of their lives. It is a economic freedom, and the context of poverty reduction “Empowerment means livelihood, empowering basic and having a broader control one can empower someone “Empowerment means toprocess that helps to diffuse right to give opinion, access to an institutional definition of knowledge about health, over one’s own destiny. else, it is something you have help others in the community enabling someone to becomepower at the individual, the productive resources that Empowerment is appropriate. hygiene and education to Having a true voice in your to do for yourself, but others to adopt simple but powerful all and everything he or shegroup and community levels. can make enable to increase The term empowerment those underprivileged section future and that of your family can help facilitate the process skills that helps them to was meant to be. It meansThe Empowerment process the earnings. It is giving the has different meanings in of the society whose right and community. Gaining hope.” or support you to develop change the quality of their helping an individualhelps people to develop skills strength to fight against different sociocultural and is to get empowered with the skills, knowledge and lives, it also makes them take develop self-worth, self-and capacities, build self- any inequalities and getting political contexts, and does these essential knowledge confidence that you need the responsibility and have an confidence, self-reliance andconfidence and make better self-respect and confidence. not translate easily into all to be empowered. Being active role in the society in a independence in such a way Thomas Thorfinnsondecisions thereby improving Empowerment help to bring of leading a better life for a languages. An exploration of as to live meaningfully and Past Vice Presidenttheir life chances and that of equality, it enhances skills, better global world in near local terms associated with empowered is the ability sustainable way. All this will peacefully.” Rotary Internationalsucceeding generations.” efficiency, knowledge to future where everyone Empowerment around the to dream dreams and strive, lead to build a better world and overcome any obstacles and to is equal.” world always leads to lively over all the odds, to make make a positive difference.” move ahead for development.” discussion. These terms those dreams reality.” include self-strength, control,Anthony Pilgrim Maris Korb self-power, self-reliance,General Manager Najma Begum Zahra Hedaiety SisterBarbados Co-operative & Credit Union Nili Majumder Free Lancer Sian Arulanantham Executive Manager Presentation Sisters of the BlessedLeague Ltd. VSO UK Radio Jockey The Leprosy Mission Bahrain Women Association Virgin Mary
  7. 7. “Post- 2015 Global a forum becomes the more it tears will be noticed and “Empowerment means “When I hear the term “Empowerment means to me “The term “empowerment”Development Framework becomes the game of bigger responded to. It is crucial helping people to participate “empowerment” it means the people who are finding a is a psycho-social term whichshould be empowerment- voices. The small voices go that the first level forum fully in the production, the ability to achieve what way to reach their potential. stands for emancipationfocused. Steps should be unattended and drowned. (i.e. neighborhood forum), culture, economy, and is necessary, according When they understand their and liberation of peopletaken to ensure that people, The need is for small-sized especially, remains accessible governance of the to my state in life in a rights and duties and start in different aspects of life.especially those most- forums of governance to, and within the grip of, the communities, state, and world constitutionally formed acting the way that they Empowerment aims toaffected, have power. Nobody participation and political people at the base. If they in which they live.” could achieve them. It’s bring the weaker sections democratic society, to livecould be more interested in participation. These forums lost grip on the very first understanding and acting.” socially and productively in of the society for instanceensuring the implementation have to be accessible to people forum of participation, and a society without fear and to minorities and women on anof the MDGs than people and include all. Hence they control, they have lost control Rudy Cypser on the entire process. They “Supporting all persons be encouraged by the society equal plane with others, sothemselves. They are the have to be neighborhood- Newsletter Editor, UN Representative in basic human dignity Joel Kumpulainen will end up as mere helpless to work for and encourage that they can exercise theirultimate stakeholders in the based. We could call them “Empowerment means Citizens United for Rehabilitation of and passive observers. Being through each ones access to the common good of all its choices in life as freely asprocess. If only people are neighborhood communities, Errants participation, decision making, that an individual can makepowerful they will ensure neighborhood sabhas small–sized the forums at citizens.” majority of the population. education, being able to share “Empowerment is the choices and decisions forthat their problems are (assemblies), neighborhood every level can have also an Empowerment is especially in the benefits of society.” process of allowing others the himself. Having the powersolved. The power should parliaments or so. We could additional advantage in the relevant in a democratic opportunity to have input and to decide whether to acceptinclude governance power get them federated at various above-mentioned multi-tier setup like India for enforcing Gloria Coleman decision making. It means a the status quo or being ableand political power. Power in levels like that of the village, federated structure. When any Fundamental Rights of Educator leader should not tell others to create change. Educationterms of an ongoing say on panchayat, block, district, representative elected from equality. Weaker and more Clare Nolan Society of the Holy Child Jesus what needs to be done, but is the key to empowerment. one level of the federation International Justice Peace Traininghow they are governed and state and the nation. Taking a leader should seek input Communication is another key. “ vulnerable sections of the to the level immediately Facilitatorhow decisions and laws that special care to ensure that at from different stakeholders society can be empowered Congregation of Our Lady of Charityaffect their lives are made. each level of the federation, above doesn’t measure up to develop a consensus and “Empowerment can be through policy formulations of the Good ShepherdThis will not come about until they continue to remain to the expectations, they can respect the process as positive and subsequently their defined in many ways, but Judith Horowitzpeople have on-going forums small-sized face-to-face immediately recall the person and useful. Empowering for me it means motivation; enforcement through World Council of Conservative/where they could influence communities. By small-sized and send someone else “Building capacity in others others means a leader gives increase of knowledge and formation of Constitutional Masorti Judaismdecisions and policies. face-to face forums, I mean any day without the mind- to find their voice and take up some sense of power boggling election expenses ownership for themselves education; recognition and laws and rules. One recentUnfortunately no such forums forums where people could all but a leader enjoys more example is the Right to associated with elections in and their future by providing application of the basicare available for people. sit together in one circle and power gaining respect and big constituencies. Thus the them with the skills and rights; and also it means the Education in Section 21 AThe present forums for talk without a microphone. appreciation from others.” whole system could remain education that they need to psychological and physical of our Indian Constitution.”participation – parliamentary In such a forum everybody,constituencies, legislative even the last and the least, answerable to the people at do this.” boost...”constituencies - are too big will have a face, a name, an the base. “ Sharon Hattento be handled by the poor identity, attention and scope UN Committee Chair and Board Dr. N.K. Chadhaand the affected. The bigger to participate. Everybody’s Paulette LoMonaco Member Ediola Pashollari Head of Department Edwin John Executive Director Associated Country Women of the Secretary General Department of Psychology, Neighborhood Community Network Good Shepherd Services World (ACWW) World Assembly of Youth University of Delhi
  8. 8. “Empowerment means “People finding their own “Empowerment means “Empowerment means: individual to take active the development of socialgiving people the tools and voice, recognizing the existing enabling individuals and 1. Enabling human beings to part in any aspect of his life policies, are actively involvedknowledge they need to be problems and trying to have groups to achieve highest reach their full potential; in the society. It refers to with the European networksable to act on their own to an influence on changing potential by removing 2. Taking away barriers that giving the possibilities to a operating in the fields ofmake truly informed decisions certain situations. To find one’s prevent them from being all member of the society, in empowerment policies, barriers and increasingabout what is going on in their own voice takes education, that they can be; term of personal abilities social cohesion, integration assets. Assets include generallives. People who do not know formal or informal, and/or 3. Maximizing what they and knowledge, to have an and education: actually, thewhat their rights are often mentoring.” and specific knowledge, can be and do for their own opinion on more subjects, Veneto Region is holdingintimidated into giving up skills and practices that may benefit and for that of society.” may they be civil and the presidency of ELISANthings that they are entitled be applied across a range of “Empowerment for me (European Local Inclusion political, and to be able to “Empowerment means thatto keep (e.g. possession of an challenging situations. For means several things: and Social Action network) support that opinion in the a person can chart their own Diane DalleMolleapartment until a court orders instance, providing equal - Allowing communities to and the general coordination Michele Morek appropriate place through course, no matter where they Sisterthem to leave). If someone access to public education Coalition Coordinator have more control on their the best means that can be of ENSA (European Network live, what they look like, or Cabrini Ministries, Swazilanddecides to leave after knowing Director, UNANIMA International for all learners is necessary destiny by being able to given at his disposition by of Social Authorities), both how their brain is wired [e.g.what her rights are, because “The World Bank’s definition: decide what is good and operating with European to build a competent the authorities. Empowering Asperger’s] and so forth. Itthat is the right choice for appropriate for them and “The ELISAN network “Empowerment is the workforce. A second example people means to let them local authorities for the social means that opportunitiesher to make based on all the process of enhancing the their needs, to what extent emphasizes the need to is training all to become have the full responsibility cohesion and cooperation exist for everyone to find outcircumstances of her living capacity of individuals or solutions brought forward by combine the concept of how they fit and belong in effective self-advocates, of their future, achievable in Europe. Within thissituation, it will at least be a groups to make choices and external partners are relevant solidarity with the concept the world, to find out where who access and apply health through the possibility of framework, the activityknowing decision made not to transform those choices to their needs, aspirations and of subsidiarity. In this optic they shine the best, and to using all the valuable means. of ELISAN, as well as thefrom fear, but from choice.” into desired actions and information and obtain values. - Enabling the most the term “Empowerment” contribute to the world and Moreover, empowering activity of Veneto Region in outcomes.” resonates with clinical care to enhance well- vulnerable groups to have is considered as a personal earn a living. It means that we people means to provide the field of social policies, is me. The World Bank goes being and decrease illness. access to basic services, to condition that enables an treat each other with respect, fully in line with the Europe on to define the capacities Individuals should not suffer have equal opportunities, to them with knowledge and we teach each other, we focusKathleen Flaherty 2020 strategy, focused on five skills, in order to have theStaff Attorney of individuals and groups as discrimination based on age, be feel valued and included ambitious goals in the areas on the best qualities that the chance to aspire and actuallyStatewide Legal Services of CT, Inc. assets. Empowerment is more gender, income, health status, and to be able to participate other person has. It means one of employment, innovation, than asset; it is a function of a in decisions affecting their have a better life, both at can go to school and not be physical or mental abilities.” education, poverty reduction system that values all players lives. - Giving people a work and in the personal bullied or belittled, work and and climate/energy.” as capable decisions makers.” voice and the capacity of sphere. The Veneto Regional not be shamed for every error, influencing policies.” Ministry on Social Services and honored for our talents, and the Regional Observatory without needing to be perfect.” on Social Policies, a technical- Ryan Smith Brian Geiger Mario Modolo scientific support body for Presbyterian Representative to the Professor Dieudonne Mouafo Director of Social Services United Nations American Association for Health Chief, Evaluation Unit Veneto Region - Direction of Social Arlene Sobhani Presbyterian Church (USA) Education United Nations Volunteers Services - Presidency of Elisan network Registered Nurse
  9. 9. “Ability to stand and fight for what is yours. Ability to make own decisions. Ability to say Yes or No. Ability to demand for services from“Empowerment is giving “When I hear the term Government. Ability topeople who are marginalized “empowerment” I think that contribute meaningfully toand even disenfranchised not there are people who want your community. To be inonly a voice, but the means and need the power to achieve control of issues or challengesto determine their own goals...the power to be FREE that affects you. Not dependingdevelopment. Enabling others to pursue those goals in their on others; having self powerto live up to their potential. lives... empowerment is the and self strength; living a lifeThis term may be applied taking of those steps that will of dignity.”to efforts by individuals to help the poor, the needy, thejoin with others to strive for immigrant, to achieve theirgreater social justice for a goals. To be free to pursue Nyesigomwe Lydiagroup or individuals. It may those goals. “To empower” Parenting Ugandabe applied to individuals or someone is to take those stepsorganizations that work with to help the “other” be free. Ithe “powerless” in their own also think that the term may “Instilling in a person thearea or nation to enable them be misleading. The people awareness that they haveto attain their potential legally we are trying to “empower” the ability to take on tasks,and socially. It involves being already have that power to to make a difference, to bewith the people and assisting achieve and be free. The real an example to others, totheir efforts by guidance and question seems to be this. contribute their talents to aexpertise. It does not mean How do we help others to cause that can benefit others.controlling the process.” realize that they are already An important component of empowered?” empowerment is education.”Philomena Grimley, Mary T. Currieand Mary Frances Nevins Marianne McGowan Kathleen RiesSisters Education Coordinator Board PresidentSociety of the Holy Child Jesus Cabrini Immigrant Services Unanima International
  10. 10. Department of Economic and Social Affairs Division for Social Policy and Developmentunsdn.orgsocial.un.org12-00096 l Designed by the Graphic Design Unit, DPI, United Nations