The Empowerment Institute's IMAGINE program empowers disenfranchised women in developing countries to envision and create new possibilities for their lives by participating in a four-day personal agency training program called the Empowerment Workshop. This workshop, developed by David Gershon and Gail Straub has been delivered over the past 30 years to thousands of people in numerous countries worldwide.
IMAGINE is currently being implemented in six countries through partnerships with NGOs that serve disenfranchised women. The program has a two-fold purpose: enable the women to develop a greater sense of agency, and empower them to spread this to their families and members of their communities. The Empowerment Institute first trains NGO leaders to host the workshop themselves and then supports them as they bring the workshop back to their constituents. Research provides compelling evidence that the Program facilitates personal agency in a relatively short time with minimal costs. Results include improved income, health, and relationships, as well as high levels of agency and hope for the future.
Over the coming two years, the Empowerment Institute will recruit 20 well-regarded developing world women's empowerment NGO leaders from strategically selected geographies to participate in its 2016 IMAGINE certification program in Rhinebeck, NY. Through this program, the Empowerment Institute will train these leaders to facilitate the four-day Empowerment Workshop for the women they serve.
Participants personally experience the Empowerment Workshop processes and techniques. They also receive instruction in how to train and coach others, and are provided with the training templates. Through the Curriculum, participants learn to: 1) shift to a visionary worldview; 2) increase their self-knowledge, train others to do the same, and translate this into a personal vision; 3) manifest and coach others on personal growth; 4) communicate the benefits of transformation; and 5) apply principles of self-support, buddy systems, and affinity groups in order to sustain growth over time through mutual support.
Empowerment Institute will recruit leaders from women's empowerment organizations in developing world countries, working to do so with their current partners and the Clinton Global Initiative. By working directly with and providing support to these women NGO leaders, the Empowerment Institute's IMAGINE intervention is capable of going to scale in a time and cost efficient manner.
September - December 2014
Reach out to partners for help identifying leaders from NGOs who are candidates for participating in the IMAGINE Workshop.
January - April 2015
Interview and recruit 10 NGOs by April 30, 2015 to participate in the January 2016 Empowerment Institute.
May - August 2015
Interview and recruit an additional 10 NGOs by August 31, 2015 to participate in the January 2016 Empowerment Institute.
September - December 2015
Travel arrangements and logistics will occur in this time period.
January - June 2016
20 NGO leaders participate in the Empowerment Institute Certification Program over six months. It includes the following:
The Institute begins with a 3 1/2-day training in which participants learn the empowerment model, methodology, and personal growth facilitation skills, and apply them to leading the IMAGINE Empowerment Workshop.
Participants return home and deliver the four-day Empowermewnt Workashop twice, aided by Empowermewnt Insittute's coaching and master classes.
After completing these Empowerment Workshops, participants reconvene for a final 4 1/2-day training to debrief their experience, learn from the groups' best practices and develop their marketing plan. Finally, they participate in the Empowerment Workshop. They benefit personally and professionally as they observe the empowerment tools skillfully applied.
Host NGO leader graduation
June 2016 - June 2018
After Graduation from the Institute, each of the 20 NGO leaders will commit to leading approximately eight Empowerment Workshops of 25 women each for a total of 200 women trained in the two years post- graduation.
To facilitate this, the Empowerment Institute will support each IMAGINE Workshop graduate to:
- Reach out to at least 25 family and community members to share what they have learned about agency.
- Leverage the agency generated from this intervention to further the other work they are doing around economic development, health, education, violence against women, and political rights.
- Continue after they complete this formal commitment to grow the IMAGINE program as part of their NGO's work and to participate nationally and internationally to grow the IMAGINE movement.
They will be supported through Skype coaching, best practice master classes, and site visits.
It is well established that a primary driver of sustainable development is the empowerment of women. As such, numerous global initiatives are underway to increase access to resources and opportunities for women. While these serve as critical catalysts for empowerment, efforts to directly foster personal agency, an intrinsic component of empowerment and a central lever for actual behavior change, are often missing from development programs. Agency is defined as the ability to formulate choices and take action to further important life outcomes.
Evidence shows that establishing personal agency within women enables greater confidence, better decision-making, the ability to advocate for self and others, and an overall sense of self-efficacy. Personal agency also catalyzes greater participation in other development activities, leading to significantly more effective utilization of existing opportunities.
There are many women's empowerment NGOs in the developing world with existing interventions on economic development, health, education, violence against women, and political rights. With access to a training that enables them to increase their personal agency, these organizations will be able to achieve greater efficacy and financial return on the investments from their funders.
Implementing partners, financial support, media support, and access to like-minded political and business partners in the U.S. and in IMAGINE countries.
Support to developing world women's empowerment NGOs and funders for integrating agency into their interventions around economic development, education, health, violence against women, and political rights.