Improving health outcomes through community empowerment: a review of the literature

J Health Popul Nutr. 2006 Mar;24(1):113-20.


This paper reviews the literature on how empowerment can lead to an improvement in the health status of an individual, group, or community. There is a broad body of literature on empowerment, and this review has been designed to identify material, particularly case studies, that can be included within the following 'empowerment domains': Participation; Community-based organizations; Local leadership; Resource mobilization; Asking 'why'; Assessment of problems; Links with other people and organizations; Role of outside agents; and Programme management. The paper discusses the results of the literature review and provides examples, from both developed and developing countries, of how each of the 'empowerment domains' has led to an improvement in health outcomes. The results of the review should be of interest to the planners and practitioners of health, population and nutrition programmes that have a particular focus on empowerment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services*
  • Community Participation*
  • Group Processes
  • Health Education
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Power, Psychological*