Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Community Development Journal


Oxford University Press


School of Business and Law




Business Competitiveness research cluster at Edith Cowan University


Langmann, S., Bezemer, P. J., & Pick, D. (2023). Local community capacity building: Exploring nongovernmental organizations approaches in Tamil Nadu. Community Development Journal. Advance online publication.


Locally based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play an important role in community capacity building (CCB). Because these NGOs are generally located close to the affected communities, they have the local knowledge to identify problems and assist the affected communities to address them. However, the methods these local NGOs use to build capacity in the local communities and the reasons they choose certain CCB approaches are not well known. To enhance the knowledge in these areas, this study conducted semistructured interviews with local NGOs and local NGO experts in Tamil Nadu, India. It was found that local NGOs build capacity in communities using emotional empowerment; a process that involves providing communities with (i) a sense of care and hopefulness, (ii) spaces to voice their feelings and challenges, and (iii) support to transform their voices into community action. Local NGOs adopted this approach because they found that long-term disadvantaged communities had high affective barriers, such as discouraging personal outlooks and an acceptance of existing social structures, which prevented them from taking ownership of the situation. Theoretically, these insights contribute to CCB literature by drawing attention to the community’s psychological processes and emotional empowerment characteristics. They also add to wider poverty debates by highlighting the affective community barriers that perpetuate existing inequalities.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.