Sara Safari, Ph.D. is a 2021 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.
Dr. Sara Safari at her Dissertation Defense.
From L-R: Dr. Lize (A.E.) Booysen, Committee Chair, Dr. Jon Wergin, Committee Member, Dr. Jeffrey Kottler, Committee Member
- Lize (A.E.) Booysen, DBL, Committee Chair
- Jon Wergin, Ph.D., Committee Member
- Jeffrey Kottler, Ph.D., Committee Member
Nepal, leadership, women empowerment, young women, leadership workshops, participatory action research, PAR, virtual participatory action research, V-PAR
Adolescent girls in developing countries, especially those from impoverished backgrounds, face many challenges, such as cultural preference for sons, child marriage, and gender-based violence and harassment, which limit their access, opportunities, and leadership skills. The purpose of this study was to create a virtual empowerment and leadership program for young women based on extant literature, as well as best practices empowerment programs from South East Asia and empirical data. The main goal of the study using Virtual Participatory Action Research (V-PAR) was to organically create a leadership development program where the participants are the developers of the program. The goal of this approach is not only to create a sense of ownership among the participants, but also to empower them with culturally compatible knowledge and skill-sets. The workshop’s objective was designed and conducted by, and for, female college students to empower themselves to take on leadership roles in their personal and professional lives. What separated this research from similar leadership workshops and women’s empowerment programs was using the emergent methodology V-PAR, which became essential due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Limited research has been conducted on marginalized communities virtually by collaboration with local facilitators from the same culture. Furthermore, using V-PAR methodology supported the creation of a virtual environment for young women who live in underprivileged areas in Nepal and who lack accessibility and facilities needed to gain knowledge and competencies. The workshop generated a dynamic, iterative, and interactive setting that fostered continuous learning, support, feedback, and mentoring between the participants, and served as an ongoing incubator for development of leadership skills. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA, http://aura.antioch.edu/ and OhioLINK ETD Center, https://etd.ohiolink.edu/.
Safari, S. (2021). Virtual Empowerment: The Exploration of Leadership Aspirations of Young Nepali Girls Using Virtual Participatory Action Research. https://aura.antioch.edu/etds/629
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