Empowerment as a tool for a healthy resettlement: a case of new African settlers in South Australia

Lillian Mwanri, Kiros Hiruy, Joseph Masika

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose-The purpose of this paper is to describe the application of empowerment and the role that it plays in fostering community participation, community integration and in enabling a healthy re-settlement of culturally and linguistically diverse migrants who have recently arrived in Australia from Sub Saharan Africa. Design/methodology/approach-The paper's approach is a discussion expressing the views of authors supported by the relevant literature drawn from a wide range of sources on migration, settlement, health, social, environment, cultural and public health issues. The African community and its peak organisation, the African Communities Council of South Australia is presented and various empowerment strategies used by the council are discussed as a healthy model for empowering new settlers in the new environment. Findings-The first part of the paper describes the migration of African migrants in South Australia and sets the scenario describing the current state of these migrants including opportunities and challenges they face in the new environment. The second part describes theories and contexts of community empowerment, relationship between community empowerment and a healthy settlement; and the relevance and implications of community empowerment. The third part draws the above context and the empowerment strategy is specifically related to the African Community in South Australia. The empowerment strategy in this case represents a wide range of interventions aimed to equip new African migrants to a successful and a healthy resettlement and integration in South Australia. By addressing a wide range of settlement challenges and issues, the strategy employs concepts of empowerment that have been used in public health in general, health promotion, health education, communications, community engagement and community development. Originality/value-The paper highlights challenges and opportunities for new migrants in the new environment and argues that community empowerment is an important enabling tool for a healthy settlement, particularly for people with refugee backgrounds. The paper also acknowledges that the community development approach has assisted the target group and has improved their ability to overcome challenges associated with settlement through capacity building, social capital and community connectivity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)86-97
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of International Migration Health and Social Care
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Australia
    • Communities
    • Community development
    • Empowerment
    • Immigrants
    • New settlers
    • Public health
    • The African community


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