Power analysis is a participatory process that involves people with an interest in a particular situation to analyse how power relations affect it and might be changed for the better. It uses a structured approach and aims to understand the reality for those stakeholders. Power analysis is a growing body of frameworks, principles, knowledge and tools for understanding who {in a given context} has what abilities to create or resist change. It can help us answer some fundamental questions such as:

  • What should and can we do to change institutions and power dynamics which keep people in poverty?
  • What power do beneficiaries and other stakeholders have to create change?
  • What power do beneficiaries and other stakeholders have to resist change?
  • What additional power do beneficiaries need to ensure they get their own desired outcome?
  • How can power be more equitably distributed?

The lack of power to create good change or resist bad change is a form of poverty in its own right. V2P is not about redistributing resources to people who live in poverty; rather we seek to make governance work for poor and marginalised people and support the people to change the power structures and dynamics that keep them poor in the first place.

In order to affect this change, we need first to understand how power is created, sustained or resisted in a given context. This helps us to understand what structures we need to change and how we can do it. The process of doing this is called ‘power analysis’.

Participatory development of power analysis on the issue of education in a certain community. 

Power analysis is essential in the V2P project as we are able to show the relationship between each stakeholder group and their role(s) in addressing various social issues and this ensures all people (especially those excluded through identity or gender) can participate equitably in decision making processes.

Power analysis is not a one-off process, but should be returned to, challenged and reassessed as power is complex and dynamic: it is constantly changing as different individuals, groups or institutions compete to gain or retain control, or resist others’ control over resources (material, human, intellectual and financial).

You want to learn more about power: the different forms and ways to analyse power? Find out in subsequent posts

Please follow and like us: