Capacity building in women's networks based in Myanmar : the role of empowerment and different types of capital

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This study examined the roles of empowerment and different types of capital in relation to women’s levels of capacity building. It focused on women survivors of the 2008 Cyclone Nargis disaster who were involved in a 30-month INGO project created to aid their recovery. In order to analyse the women’s levels of capacity building, three villages were selected from the same geographical locations in order to compare their situations before, during and after the INGO’s project. A social capital conceptual framework, adapted from the World Bank, was integrated with an input-process-output model to assist the analysis of documents and data gathered through qualitative interviews and focus groups. The various forms of data collated were triangulated and analysed using Nvivo software. The findings confirm that the capacity building approach undertaken by the INGO was appropriate to support sustainable capacity building, empowerment and different types of capital development for the women concerned. It was also determined that training provision alone was not sufficient for their ongoing capacity building and empowerment. The research findings identified three new themes: participation; engagement and mutual respect, as a precursor to trust, indicating that in this case they were necessary for the women to gain the most benefit from development efforts. It is anticipated that the finding will be of assistance to researchers and practitioners associated with women’s capacity building and empowerment and, in particular for those involved in humanitarian projects and disaster response and recovery across the globe and specifically, in relation to Myanmar.
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