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Empowerment for sustainability : empowering women in rural communities in Georgia using participatory action research

Ukkonen, Mervi LU (2014) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM01 20141
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
I examine if participatory action research can be used to launch processes in women’s action groups in rural areas of a lower middle income country, which can lead to empowerment of the organization. Participatory action research conducted in Western Georgia was designed to investigate marginalization of rural women and whether a researcher can intervene by taking on a role of an external change-maker. The Georgian participatory action research consisted of community mobilization workshops, community action taken by two women’s action groups that participants of two workshops self-organized and reflection on community organizing process and outcomes during semi-structured interviews. The Georgian participatory action research lasted for... (More)
I examine if participatory action research can be used to launch processes in women’s action groups in rural areas of a lower middle income country, which can lead to empowerment of the organization. Participatory action research conducted in Western Georgia was designed to investigate marginalization of rural women and whether a researcher can intervene by taking on a role of an external change-maker. The Georgian participatory action research consisted of community mobilization workshops, community action taken by two women’s action groups that participants of two workshops self-organized and reflection on community organizing process and outcomes during semi-structured interviews. The Georgian participatory action research lasted for six weeks. In addition to data from interviews, qualitative data consists of community action plans drafted in the workshops and observations. I found that participatory action research method can be used to help rural women organize into action groups in which they can take action to improve living conditions of their community. Results of the research indicate that a researcher played a crucial although small role by initiating a process of community organizing and co-creating knowledge with the local participants in the workshops. Another finding is that the three organizational-level processes that according to community empowerment theory developed by Speer and Hughey (1995) would lead to empowerment of the community organization had started to emerge women’s action groups. The three processes include inventing roles that can be rotated among organization members, establishing relations with community agencies and other societal actions, as well as sustaining organizational activity by enhancing relationships among organization members. Development of the processes imply that nine participants of the Georgian participatory action research and the other members of the women’s action groups can become empowered in the long run if they continue to take collective action in their community as members of the action groups they established during the research. (Less)
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author
Ukkonen, Mervi LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM01 20141
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
sustainability science, participatory action research, community organizing, empowerment, women
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2014:008
language
English
id
4462583
date added to LUP
2014-06-13 16:31:06
date last changed
2014-06-13 16:31:06
@misc{4462583,
  abstract     = {I examine if participatory action research can be used to launch processes in women’s action groups in rural areas of a lower middle income country, which can lead to empowerment of the organization. Participatory action research conducted in Western Georgia was designed to investigate marginalization of rural women and whether a researcher can intervene by taking on a role of an external change-maker. The Georgian participatory action research consisted of community mobilization workshops, community action taken by two women’s action groups that participants of two workshops self-organized and reflection on community organizing process and outcomes during semi-structured interviews. The Georgian participatory action research lasted for six weeks. In addition to data from interviews, qualitative data consists of community action plans drafted in the workshops and observations. I found that participatory action research method can be used to help rural women organize into action groups in which they can take action to improve living conditions of their community. Results of the research indicate that a researcher played a crucial although small role by initiating a process of community organizing and co-creating knowledge with the local participants in the workshops. Another finding is that the three organizational-level processes that according to community empowerment theory developed by Speer and Hughey (1995) would lead to empowerment of the community organization had started to emerge women’s action groups. The three processes include inventing roles that can be rotated among organization members, establishing relations with community agencies and other societal actions, as well as sustaining organizational activity by enhancing relationships among organization members. Development of the processes imply that nine participants of the Georgian participatory action research and the other members of the women’s action groups can become empowered in the long run if they continue to take collective action in their community as members of the action groups they established during the research.},
  author       = {Ukkonen, Mervi},
  keyword      = {sustainability science,participatory action research,community organizing,empowerment,women},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Empowerment for sustainability : empowering women in rural communities in Georgia using participatory action research},
  year         = {2014},
}