The 27th Rotaract District Conference was all about INNOVATION, EMPOWERMENT and PASSION. And Rotaract as a movement had thrived on empowering communities and its own members. So here are somethings that you need to know about empowerment. 
What is empowerment? 
While there are a number of definitions for empowerment, let me define empowerment in a more comprehensive and unconventional manner. 
– “Empowerment is, comprises of the measures assigned to increase the degree of autonomy and self-determination in people and in communities, in order to enable them to present their interests in a responsible and self-determined way acting on their own authority.” –
Sources of empowerment 
Empowerment comes from two main sources; from within oneself and as a part of one’s position in an organization or a community. However, the important observation is that, either of these are not substitutes for each other. They are rather complements and its strong coexistence is what’s truly going to empower someone. 
For an example, imagine a department head who is too afraid to talk on behalf of his own department or a lower level employee who is determined to get what his department truly needs, but has no say in decision making whatsoever. Will either be of use? Are they truly empowered? 
Empowerment: a product of desperation 
That being said, imagine a situation where you are struck by a natural disaster and you are striped off of all your belongings; your house, your clothes, your electronic devices. Well, would you just sit there and wait for someone to save you? No! Your brain would switch on to the survival mode, and in that moment of desperation you find the strength to stand up for yourself, you find empowerment. 


The same applies to little things in life, and you might have already experienced it. To state a few, take your mind to when you had forgotten to do your homework and your empowered to build an excuse and speak for yourself and that moment when you have to submit a report tomorrow so all of a sudden you are empowered to work today or that time when you are empowered to work harder and learn to pitch yourself because you haven’t received that promotion you have been waiting for two years. So, remember, the next time life hits you with lemons, make a lemonade and get to work. 
Learn from a baby
One unexpected place where we find a great lesson about being empowered from within is from babies. Have you ever noticed that babies often do what they are told not to? We often consider it as misbehaving and forget to gather the important point. Toddlers does this to experience things and when they experience things they learn and they discover, they test what they have been told solely for their own sake. 


We often are not empowered, simply because we let the social norms crush us down. So, for once do something different, forget about the norms and the stereotypes. Find your baby-self who knew how to be empowered.
You’ll never get it until you take it 
Another mistake we often do is thinking that someone can empower us. I’m sorry to say, that it’s not the case. One can give you the power, but solely up to you to take it and exploit it. For an example, imagine a situation where an organization is trying to empower women by doing workshops with the aim of increasing the contribution of women to the socio-economic environment. What if these women choose to attend to those workshops and then decide that they’ll just stay at home like they used to do. Are those women empowered? Empowerment only happens to the extent to which a person wants to be empowered. 


With great empowerment comes great responsibility 
We often talk about empowerment as a free good with no cost. But, in reality empowerment happens at a cost: responsibility. Why? Because empowerment improves one’s autonomy and autonomy is something which should be handled responsibly and with great discipline. Think about a burglar, if we think about empowerment without responsibility, a burglar is definitely empowered, he robs for himself and if caught he speaks for himself. But, has he used empowerment responsibly? 
So be empowered and use your empowerment responsibly. That’s what will change the world. 
Written By :-
logo Rtr. Promodhya Abeysekara
Co – Editor 2017/18
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