Building capacity in participatory video in the North Rupununi

posted in: News 0

One of the main goals of the Darwin project is to build the capacity of community members in documenting community owned solutions through the participatory video technique. Over the course of the last four weeks – 19th Nov to 16th Dec – the North Rupununi District Development Board project team, supported by Claudia Nuzzo of the Cobra Collective and Deirdre Jafferally of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, travelled to four communities to explore the challenges communities are facing with traditional knowledge and protected areas, and to build community capacity.

In each community, over the course of a week the team worked with eight trainees to understand and practice the various elements of participatory video, which included the consent process for including a person in their videos, familiarity with the tablets being used to capture and edit footage into short videos, capturing and framing shots, editing the raw material, how to conduct interviews and the process of planning a story before going out to capture footage. It was made clear to the trainees that while the planning session may appear as the most boring of the process, it’s the most important. This process helps you identify why you want to tell this story, what will be in the video, who would be your target audience, where you will do the filming, when you will film and how you will capture the story.

The training started in Apoteri, where the trainees were eager to learn more about the video making process. In Rewa, because of pressing community work, the training did not go off as intended but it is hoped that this can be rescheduled for the New Year. Aranaputa had a group of trainees who were quick on the ball and had a fun time developing their practice video. The final community was Fair View, located in the Iwokrama Forest, where the trainees showed a keenness to learn something new and different.

All the participants indicated that the process was a challenge especially thinking about how to plan their stories. The most fun part was capturing the footage and editing the video. Some found that they did not like being in front of the cameras as much as they enjoyed being the camerawoman/man. Some expressed concern that some community members did not want to participate in their videos. It was explained that even with clarifying what you were doing and their role in it as part of the consent process some people may not want to participate. This was not something to get upset about as its part of the process, you move to the next person to see if they may be willing to be a part of your video.

On completion of the training, the facilitators met with the Village Council to discuss two persons continuing on to make some videos for the project. The practice videos put together by the trainees were screened with the council and other community members, and where that was not possible copies were left to be shown later. Community leaders expressed how happy they were that the training happened in their communities. Both trainees and leaders see the skills gained as important in helping the communities document important issues about traditional knowledge. One community member expressed it this way “These kinds of training are important for the people. Just look at the facilitators, they started just like this and now they are using that training to make something of themselves. The same can be done for those training now.”

The team will be visiting the communities in January to follow up with the trainees and check on the progress of the videos to be made.

Follow Jay Mistry:

Professor of Geography - Royal Holloway University of London

Jay has more than 22 years’ experience in teaching, researching and building capacity for natural resource management with local communities. Her particular interests include supporting local livelihoods and biodiversity conservation, local environmental governance, action research using participatory video and capacity building for natural resource management.