Participatory Video in Northern Uganda

16 December 2011 | News story

Participatory Video (PV) is an innovative way of empowering and sharing communities’ voices on development and environmental challenges and solutions.Training of PV was introduced by the IUCN Water Programme, following the objective to visually document projects and strengthen communication capacities.

From 5-10 December, a Participatory Video training was conducted in Moroto, Uganda, in which filming and facilitation techniques were taught to shape and create videos on water challenges and solutions as seen by local communities.

Moroto lies in the Karamoja region, within the dry northeastern edge of Uganda, where IUCN is working on increasing communities’ resilience to drought risk disaster. In partnership with Action Contre la Faim (ACF) and with funding from the European Commission on Humanitarian Affairs (ECHO), the IUCN project aims to reduce communities’ vulnerability to drought and changing water flows. The region is prone to water scarcity and drought crop failure, and consequently famine and conflict.

Rising tensions over scarce water resources and the impacts of climate change have put the region under increased environmental pressure. “With the support from the Directorate of Water Resources Management in the Uganda Ministry of Water and Environment, IUCN and partners are implementing solutions and actions towards improving the ecosystem management of water resources in the region, and hence the wellbeing and sustainability of people’s livelihoods”, said Robert Bagyenda, Programme Officer of the IUCN Uganda office.

The Karamoja project focuses in part on capacity building, knowledge sharing and community participation. Complementing the work of NGOs and local government in the region, Participatory Video (PV) helped to better understand community needs and identify gaps in water resource planning.

Working together with our project partners and communities, the PV training strengthened communications and facilitation skills, which is important in sharing progress and impact of our work”, said Katharine Cross, IUCN Technical Coordinator Water and Wetlands Programme East and Southern Africa. “Through the participatory process, community groups were given control of their own film and recording. This process was very empowering, enabling them to take stock of what has been done, and what still needs to be done towards better water management in the future.”

Eighteen participants, including local government and ACF staff, were facilitated throughout the training by Claire Warmenbol, IUCN Water Programme Communications Officer. “Participatory Video is a highly effective tool to engage and mobilise people, enabling them greater participation in the development and progress of environmental projects. With a participatory approach, the participants fast learn new skills, as well as valuable insights from open dialogue and recording their stories. Benefits from participatory video further include project monitoring, as well as providing a powerful tool for advocacy and information sharing”, she said.

Following the PV training, participants were further introduced to video editing skills and script-writing. A series of 4 new project videos will be produced and distributed amongst project partners and the environmental community, and shared more widely via social media networks such as Facebook and YouTube.

Reporting back on project work often involves writing lengthy reports which are time-consuming. Participatory video offers an alternative or complementary way of communicating our project work, directly through the lens of project beneficiaries”, said James Omoding, IUCN Karamoja Project Officer.

A photo gallery of the Participatory Video training and Community filming is available on this link:

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