AVSI and the AfriChild Center conducted qualitative research to understand the realities of adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) and the local constructs of determined, resilient and empowered AGYW in Uganda. The results suggest that determined, resilient and empowered AGYW are characterized by having the knowledge and skills to become successful, is economically self-sufficient not only for herself but also for the betterment of her family, and is “useful” to society. AGYW who have the disempowered characteristics of failing school or failing to hold a job are seen as matters of personal character and the result of negative influences of the wrong social group–rather than the result of economic injustice or social inequality.
Findings demonstrate the inter-relationship and inter-dependence of different forms of empowerment. The authors conclude that empowerment may only be possible and sustainable if there is a change at multiple levels with individuals, families, communities, and institutions and with resources, economic opportunities supported by an empowering political and legal environment.