Advocacy and Empowerment

Advocacy and Empowerment






The theories about advocacy and empowerment are mostly related to helping an individual and the community at large when it comes to making decisions that affect them. Both are practices that promote social democracy and also ensure that people are able to overcome challenges and contribute positively to the society as they practice social justice. Social workers, therefore, have the responsibility to ensure that members of the society understand their lives and ways in which they can change. Empowerment enables people to know the power they have, they are able to use the power that they have to reduce barriers that are either personal or social. Advocacy ensures that people who have little power are well represented in the face of people with power. This paper seeks to give an overview of advocacy and empowerment.


This is usually associated with improving the lives of the vulnerable in the society. It ensures that they are aware of their human rights and exercise them accordingly and reduce being marginalized by actively participating. This way they have a positive attitude towards people in power; for instance, social workers use their power to improve the welfare of the vulnerable. A good example of empowerment is when job opportunities are created that require little or no skills so as to alleviate poverty for low-income households as well as the jobless. It is known as a multidisciplinary science that involves society and mostly comprises of applied psychology and work that involves the community and society (Cattaneo,2015). It enables social workers to know the impacts of social justice on the wellbeing of people both psychologically and individually.


When actions are taken with the aim of reducing issues that affect society such as poverty, prejudice, and access to the entitlement that is uneven then advocacy is achieved. It is mostly concerned with issues on power, resource allocation, privileges, prejudices, and violence on the less fortunate or vulnerable in the society. It focusses on reducing oppression and having social justice. An advocate ensures that their clients have access to services that they are entitled to and their rights respected. It basically promotes fairness and ensures that citizens are not in a state of helplessness. It has the aim of improving the individual power of clients and implements changes in the society.

Theory strength

Advocacy and empowerment work to ensure that clients know their rights, understand them and utilize them without discrimination or prejudice. It ensures that they have access to services and resources that they are entitled to. It gives a platform in which people can deal with their problems as well as adversity. Members of the society also access equality when it comes to dignity, responsibility, and respect. It gives an opportunity for clients who are victimized a chance to be resilient once they are empowered (Peterson,2014). Both theories promote a culture of unity and togetherness among members of the society when they are active participants. To social workers, not only do they advocate for their clients but for themselves, the satisfaction of advocacy comes with helping the vulnerable in the society and improving their lives. Advocacy has the aim of ensuring that people are not exploited or oppressed by either lack of sufficient knowledge or power.


The challenge with empowerment is that once employees or members of the society are empowered, they could exploit it and this is not clearly pointed out in the theory. There is also a lot of misinterpretation in the theory in groups that are social and also political and therefore it brings about political instability. The challenge that social workers face during the process of advocacy or empowerment is that they could be overcome by emotions. Advocators are also viewed as troublemakers in the society and this puts their source of income at risk. In a working environment, advocators could face harassment from antisocial colleagues who are intolerant.

Connecting theory to practice


The group of people protected by this theory is the marginalized and those vulnerable like those who live with disabilities, with little education and those who lack knowledge in various fields that affect their lives. The victimized people also access equal power, the services, and resources they are entitled to and opportunities when it comes to employment. It promotes unity when people have a platform where they can air their issues and since this is an awareness approach power is given to them such that they are able to overcome barriers.

Social progress

This theory emphasizes on personal skill development for productivity, emotional strength or difference sources where money can be obtained as well as adequate time for advocating for the interests of clients. Social progress means encouraging people to participate in social movements that help improve their lives. Advocators representing the needs of society also promotes social progress since they link human rights to civil rights. It aims to improve the living standards of people globally by integrating both the public and private sector to solve environmental and social barriers in society. A country without social progress may have challenges developing economically since citizens lack opportunities for growth.


It enables people to speak up and share their thoughts on how they feel about a certain issue if it important to them. Once you are aware of your rights, self-advocacy enables you to speak up in the face of oppression. It helps individuals to be responsible as they can make decisions which they have to set up a plan and goals so as to achieve it. It helps make decisions that are good for you and empowers you to make bold decisions. Once people acknowledge power they are able to make decisions that help improve their lives.

Role of social workers

They promote empowerment among vulnerable members of the society and employees. They raise awareness of the rights of citizens, mobilize the vulnerable in society when it comes to policy changes. They train people to understand the process of policy and advocacy skills. They empower women to know their rights and speak up with issues on gender-based violence. Vulnerable people are also empowered to defend themselves from exploitation by social workers. They also encourage advocacy to their clients (Kinman,2010).


Cattaneo, L.B., & Goodman, L.A (2015). What is empowerment anyway? A model for domestic violence practice, research and evaluation. Psychology of violence 5(1), 84.

Kinman, G., & Grant, L. (2010). Exploring stress resilience in trainee social workers: The role of emotional and social competencies. The British Journal of Social Work, 41(2), 261-275.

Peterson, N. A. (2014). Empowerment Theory: Clarifying the Nature of Higher-Order Multidimensional Constructs. American Journal of Community Psychology, 53(1/2), 96–108.