Empowerment in the community: the design of an open indicators system from participatory evaluation processes

  • Pere Soler Maso Instituto de Investigación Educativa (IRE) - Universidad de Girona
  • Anna Planas Instituto de Investigación Educativa (IRE) - Universidad de Girona
  • Anna Ciraso-Calí Departamento de Pedagogía Sistemática y Social – Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona
  • Arantxa Ribot-Horas Departamento de Pedagogía Sistemática y Social – Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona
Keywords: Empowerment, empowerment evaluation, evaluation indicators, community plans, community development


There are several perspectives and conceptual approaches to Participatory Evaluation (PE) and the meanings and senses that it may have. In all cases, it involves a new point of view among assessment models, as it is considered itself as a process of individual and collective learning. In this article we aim to deepen in this topic; and to find out how this learning contributes to the empowerment of individuals and communities who are lead this evaluation. This paper describes the design and testing of an open indicators system to highlight empowerment, which aims to show the learning that EP processes generate in the people who experience it. Variables and indicators of empowerment are identified through literature analysis and discussion with researchers, technicians and community workers... These indicators are tested on three case studies, which allow verifying its utility. In these case studies we used questionnaires, content analysis of minutes and transcriptions of community sessions and semi-structured interviews to members of EP groups. We present the general list of variables and indicators of empowerment, understood as an open system, as a generator matrix, which can be completed and contrasted from the new contributions arisen during its application. From the literature analysis, most of our proposed indicators were confirmed. The system also includes some unusual indicators in formulations made so far, but that have been validated through our case studies. We consider that this contribution is a good starting point for further research, and a help to greatly enhance the discourse and the value of socio-educational actions and community work.


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