Our goal is stated; we want to strengthen communities. We feel that we have a methodology to do so, but how can we know when we have succeeded, or to what extent?
What we may mean by the above question, is, "How do we measure the strengthening of communities that we claim we are doing?" Put in other ways, "What do we mean by strengthening communities, by increasing their capacities, by empowering them?" We can use these three (1 empowering, 2 strengthening, 3 capacity building) interchangeably, although one or another may be more acceptable to different people. The word "empowerment, "for example, seems to appear more like a political goal, while "capacity building" appears more "neutral" (a-political), thus more acceptable to technical specialists who do not want to be contaminated with anything that might appear to be ideologically tainted or "political." The word "strengthening" may be somewhere in between.
Bartle, Phil, "Measuring Progress; Evaluating the Strengthening of Communities" (1998). Evaluation/Reflection. 12.