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Introduction

Empowerment is both a multilevel (individual, group, organizational, community) and a multidimensional (intrapersonal, social, behavioural, organizational and community) construct. It has been defined as a process through which people, organizations and communities gain mastery over their own affairs. Empowerment is a construct that links individual competencies, existing helping systems and proactive behaviours to matters of social policy and social change. The individual experience of empowerment includes a combination of self-acceptance and self-confidence, social and political understanding and the ability to play an assertive role in controlling resources and decisions in one's community. Psychological empowerment can be described therefore as the connection between a sense of personal competence, a desire for, and a willingness to take, action in the public domain (Zimmerman & Rappaport, 1988).

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