Why participatory video?

Use and advantages of participatory videos


Video is gaining credit in supporting the whole communicational process within a project. Its participatory use is increasing, in agreement with the principles and methods accepted in the dominants paradigms of the sector of development (participation, accountability, appropriation, etc).  With the technological development, cheap and small video materials have become accessible and the methods of production have been simplified by the virtual numerical editing.

Internet now serves as a support for scientific and militating production and also serves as a principal canal of broadcasting. Even though high quality films can be produced by using the participatory video approach, the principal added valued of this method is found in its process of stimulating and allowing a group or a community to take initiatives to communicate their needs, their ideas and resolving their issues.

The participatory video can be use in all the cycles of project management, development programs (diagnostic, identification, planning, management, monitoring and evaluation, capitalization, valorization). Its use can go beyond the domain of development projects due the fact that video is frequently used in workshops, companies trainings, professionals athlete trainings, etc. Among all the advantages of the participatory video, we can cite:

  • Participatory video is useful because it’s a way of communication and allows a group of people to express themselves, to talk about their conditions, their challenges, their accomplishments… with their own words and their own images. It’s an efficient way of documenting the experience of local people, and expressing their needs and their hopes from their own perspectives of development.
  • The participatory video could also be used as a powerful and an efficient educational tool.

-It could be watched by uneducated people from different ages and does not require the literacy needed to access newspaper and media.

-it could used to transmit educational message in an accessible way and in the local context.

-it’s a good way of presenting the voice of marginalized people to decision makers. With a good planning, it could present complexes issues with dramatic effects. Participatory video simplify the communication of issues and the priorities of the communities.

-It could be easily shown and touch different audiences, multiple times and at a low cost. It could also be copied in different format such DVD and distributed.

  • In summary the whole process of making a participatory video is an awesome experience for all the people and allows them to bond with the communities. The collective production of a video contributes to the sensitizing and to the brainstorming on the issues and realities of the communities.
  • As a group activity, the participatory video helps develop the creative capacities of the participants by including them in use of the video equipments to film themselves and their surroundings, to make their own video and this helps them develop their self- esteem and allows them to be acquainted with the dynamic of the local population. The people in the participatory video move from being an “object of the study” and become subjects, “protagonist subjects” and therefore, strengthen the attitude and motivation of the participants.
  • The participatory video can be used to bring a local issue before a large audience such as politicians, financial and technical partners. The community making the participatory video could use it as a tool to sensitize, to alert, to raise funds for a specific issue or to sound the alarm on a specific issue.