Empowerment is a process of promoting competences for public social activity, cooperative organization, and involvement in public decision-making. Self-empowerment is a process of acquiring these competences.
It deals with questions like:
- How do you gain power?
- How do you use power?
- How do you shape power relations?
- How can you influence socially relevant conversations and decisions?
On an individual level, empowerment is feeling, accepting, and using one’s individual power in terms of self-responsible independent action. In education and training it can be understood as a process of gaining competencies for public social activity, cooperative self-organization, and involvement in any public decision-making.
In this sense, not all empowerment is citizenship education. Many activities are the result of self-learning and self-organisation. But an understanding of empowerment as learning and of civic action as active learning might support these processes.
In the context of competency-centered civic education, empowerment is a requirement and goal for participatory learning processes and trainings.