As they move from responding to needs and demands to a more rights-based approach, some French NGOs are rethinking both their areas of work and their ways of working. ‘Empowerment’ has become a key concept in this changing context, although it is sometimes difficult to know how best to apply it and understand what it really means in an NGO setting. This article shares some thinking on empowerment, analysing its ‘object’ (individuals, organisations, networks, or movements) and the ‘process’ through which it is realised. Drawing on the author’s own experience and on a brief literature review, it is illustrated by the examples of the international disability and US gay rights movements.
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