Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Geoffrey Nelson

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This qualitative research study is an evaluation of the organization, Mothers and Others Making Change (MOMC), a self-help/social action, anti-poverty organization in Kitchener-Waterloo. The research was developed a, both an action and a theoretical investigation designed to answer the questions: Is MOMC an empowering organization? and Is MOMC an empowered organization? Members of MOMC, local and provincial human service representatives and local and provincial politicians were interviewed to obtain their opinions about these questions. The results indicate that both the self-help arid the social action components of the organization are important factors in empowering the members to take control of their own lives. There is also support for the use of an empowerment framework in the study of self-help organizations. The results further indicate that MOMC may he becoming an empowered organization, although the results were less clear cut at this level than at the previous one. The group awl their allies were credited, by the participants, with creating some change in the community and in the province. There is also some evidence to suggest support for Jenkin's (1985) resource mobilization theory and the social movement theory proposed by Spector and Kitsuse (1987). In addition to the definition of success of a social movement as creating changes in power structures, however, the ability of an organization to recycle energy for further action should be added. The results show promise for empowerment theory, social movement theory and for the role of self -help groups in creating social change. Further research is required.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season