Empowerment Plus: Groups and Toolkit
Helping those experiencing a wide range of socio-economic risks including displacement, unemployment, isolation, crime, addiction and extremism through integration, empowerment & self-reliance.
Volunteer teams — composed of people with business know-how and sincere spirituality (including humanism) — will use an interfaith self-reliance Empowerment+ toolkit to bring together those experiencing a wide range of socio-economic risks including displacement, unemployment, isolation, crime, addiction and extremism into a wider group of people who help each other acquire the key ‘temporal’ (earthly) and spiritual skills needed to be empowered and successful in the societies where they live.
The combined business-faith approach gives real alternatives to narratives of despair that grow under conditions of isolation, desperation, rejection, and spiritual ‘anomie’ (lack of the usual social or ethical standards).
Self-reliance groups will address the underlying issues by helping those at risk replace isolation, desperation and spiritual anomie with temporal and spiritual empowerment. The spiritual power of the approach is in giving those at risk the opportunity to constructively help others in the group process. Led by volunteer teams, the groups counsel together, learn together, mentor each other, commit to act on what they are learning, and hold each other accountable for commitments. This group process, together with the workbooks and videos, creates a dynamic learning environment that strengthens each member in his or her progress toward a spiritually and temporally empowered life.
Those at risk will be identified and channelled into the Empowerment+ groups through multiple avenues, including referrals from friends, religious and community groups, and schools, as well as through personal contacts that build as the initiative grows.
The Empowerment+ toolkit has multiple tracks, channelling participants to the most appropriate pathway for them. These include: Starting and Growing a Business; My Job Search; Education for Better Work. The business track may be especially attractive to those at risk of radicalisation, as some have an entrepreneurial bent.
The Empowerment+ toolkit is intentionally designed to be used in a group (eliminating isolation), to provide practical results (overcoming desperation), to demonstrate acceptance (ending rejection), and to model the radical spiritual power of serving others (replacing spiritual anomie with spiritual groundedness).
The toolkit will be an interfaith version of a successful self-reliance program operated worldwide by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) to help their own members. As part of this pilot initiative, the interfaith toolkit will be developed with LDS permission and in collaboration with multiple faith communities (Baha’i, Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu, Humanist, Jewish, Orthodox, Protestant, Shia Muslim, Sikh, Sunni Muslim, other Muslims, etc.).
The LDS toolkit is currently being converted into an interfaith tool.