Voices of the communities

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Between November 2017 and January 2018, the NRDDB Darwin Team visited four North Rupununi communities to provide training in participatory video techniques. The communities were Apoteri, Aranaputa, Fair View and Rewa. The training introduced participants to the techniques used on capturing and editing videos. The participants then got the chance to plan, capture and edit short videos on a topic of interest. On completion of the training, two persons were chosen to work on some short videos focused on the respective communities’ relationship with the protected area – Iwokrama Forest. We asked some of the participants to provide some feedback on the training and working on the videos. These are their words.

Apoteri’s relationship with Iwokrama

Under the project title Integrating Traditional Knowledge, we as trainees did a research on Apoteri’s relationship with Iwokrama Protected Area. On this research, we encountered and faced numerous challenges in interviewing the keys persons. We were not able to meet all the resource persons in the community, who had the ideas to the questions, as they were not available at the time. And also, it was a bad time for us since it was during Christmas holiday period, everyone was very busy drinking as is normal during Christmas.

Despite the challenges face, we were able to interview a few persons who were interested. Others were not as interested simply because the questions were more based on the protected area and not on the community.  However, we fortunate to have few interested persons who co-operate with us and share great ideas that allowed us to put together a short video.

Despite all the challenges we went through in this short research, it was very interesting for us as young researchers of the community. It is helping us to become confident and build our skills in finding our community own solutions for the benefit of the people in the future.

A Trainee’s perspective – Peggy Alvin

The training was done by the NRDDB team, working on the integration of traditional knowledge into national policy and practice in Guyana, was important, interesting and a learning exercise.

The team showed us how to use a tablet and how to make a video. During the training, we were taught how to use the equipment, some of the requirement for making videos, explained the need for signing consent forms, and how to interview persons. For some of us, it was something new being taught in the village, especially using a touch screen tablet on a tripod. During the training, we were asked to do a short video in the village. Everyone had to remember how to use the equipment as taught in class. It was a challenge interviewing and videoing persons.

However, it was a learning exercise; for the first time meeting people and asking questions.  We did not do well during that day, however, during the class session we were put into group and asked to list five ideas and select one to develop a video. We went out to video again, which was an interesting and learning exercise as we were taught more of the process. By the end of the day we did well with the help of the team. We were then able to go through the videos captured, put them into order for the editing part. This is where we learnt about videos editing and how the video would look when it was completed.

We have learned a lot from this training and we want to make this training a reality. This is for the future as our tradition is fading away. The younger folks can keep our culture by looking and learning from some of the videos taken in the village. We hope there will be more training by the NRDDB in the future for the betterment of our village.

We want to thank the team for choosing Rewa, hosting the training, sharing and teaching us. This is useful information for the village and future generations.

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.