Empowerment for health:

In health promotion, empowerment is a process through which people gain greater control over decisions and actions affecting their health.

Reference: new definition

Empowerment may be a social, cultural, psychological or political process through which individuals and social groups are able to express their needs, present their concerns, devise strategies for involvement in decision-making, and achieve political, social and cultural action to meet those needs. Through such a process people see a closer correspondence between their goals in life and a sense of how to achieve them, and a relationship between their efforts and life outcomes. Health promotion not only encompasses actions directed at strengthening the basic life skills and capacities of individuals, but also at influencing underlying social and economic conditions and physical environments which impact upon health. In this sense health promotion is directed at creating the conditions which offer a better chance of there being a relationship between the efforts of individuals and groups, and subsequent health outcomes in the way described above.

A distinction is made between individual and community empowerment. Individual empowerment refers primarily to the individuals’ ability to make decisions and have control over their personal life. Community empowerment involves individuals acting collectively to gain greater influence and control over the determinants of health and the quality of life in their community, and is an important goal in community action for health.

Source: Health Promotion Glossary (1998), WHO/HPR/HEP/98.1