A critical perspective on community empowerment: the cases of selected NGOs in Ethiopia
Empowerment is a catchword that has recently entered current development debate. Development is largely perceived as a process of building capacities hence empowering people to be able to handle their affairs. As such it is a concept highly espoused by prominent development actors and mainly Non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The study attempted to examine the theoretical and empirical aspects of community empowerment from a critical perspective by surveying activities of three NGOs in Ethiopia. A recent framework developed by a working group of the World Bank for measuring and structuring analysis was used for analyzing findings. Conceptualization and practices of empowerment seem to be at a nascent stage and tools for measuring it as well; that is what the findings of the study indicate. Despite the rhetoric surrounding the concept, the experience of surveyed NGOs also shows disparities between theory and practice.