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Exploring the Role of Community Leadership in Empowerment: A case study of Qala-e-Ahmad Khan in Bagrami District of Kabul Province, Afghanistan

This research focuses to understand the role of community leadership in empowerment. The research explores how empowerment is understood and practiced, how the community leadership practices contribute to it, and finally explains the challenges in empowerment. Such a study is important to know the community based approaches to empowerment, which will help external actors such as NGOs to tailor their interventions to the needs of the people and their capacities. The research approach adopted in this dissertation includes a case study approach to social research. Focus group discussions and semi structures are used to collect primary data from the study respondents.

The findings from this research provide evidence that, first, empowerment is a vague concept- both as a process and as an outcome- and it is difficult to objectively measure. Second, community leadership is largely seen as a group of advisors and catalysts who address the collective needs of the community and help mobilize resources to achieve the community goals – empowerment is seen as one of their multidimensional goals. Finally, empowerment, as a process or outcome, is influenced by external and internal factors such as political, economic, cultural, and religious- it is rarely a neutral or isolated process.

The main conclusions drawn from this research are that first, in order for empowerment to take place, both external actors and the powerless need to clearly define empowerment, allocate resources and means for achieving it over time, and jointly measure the progress on empowerment. Second, empowerment requires a proactive and sustained role of the community leadership over time to identify, challenge, and change the processes, mechanisms, and practices that enable changes in power relations for the ‘power’. Finally, empowerment requires harmony of all external factors involved with the intrinsic elements of empowerment in a given context. This study recommends exploring how the community leadership development practices affect the specific outcomes and processes of empowerment.

 

Abdul Aziz Naderi (2013)

 

Permanent link to this article: http://kimmagedsc.ie/dissertation/community-leadership-afghanistan/