1. Describe briefly what you do in your organisation
Proplaneta uses participatory video in 95% of our projects with the main purpose of inspire, facilitate and empower groups and communities around the world, to identify, capture and share local solutions, that can positively transform livelihoods and help the planet’s transition into a more sustainable way.
2. Which are the main aims of your work?
We use participatory video to (i) inspire bottom-up change and scale it up; (ii) to disseminate experiences and knowledge that can positively impact livelihoods; (iii) to capacitate collective and individual leadership. Our main areas of focus are: sustainable development, disasters preparedness and humanitarian action.
3. Could you list the main advantages and disadvantages of your work with participatory video?
- It is an audiovisual mean, much more powerful than words. Communities can connect emotionally to the messages in the participatory videos, and as many studies show, emotions increase message retention and the potential for behavior change.
- Video is easy to share and scale-up. The same video, with subtitles, can speak to audiences locally and internationally.
- It is a process and not a product only. And in the process there is deep engagement, which is key on any bottom-up processes.
- It builds communication and technical capacities of communities that rarely have the opportunity to express their ideas in such a legitimate way.
- It provides participants a context of reflection about themselves and their livelihoods. It gives them a voice and it shares their voices with other communities and decision makers. It makes them grow, communicate higher, communicate stronger.
- Participatory video requires facilitators with filming and editing equipment and skills.
- It can create false expectations if limitations are not communicated well to the participants as change is part of a much bigger process.
Sometimes the videos can reach decision makers, have an impact but this impact is not communicated back to the community on an ideal closed loop feedback process.
4. Could you mention an experience which in your view encapsulates the potential of participatory video?
In Brazil we are facilitating a project for FETRANSPOR SOCIAL called “DialogoJovem para a Mobilidade” (Youth Dialogue for Mobility). Participatory video helps bring the youth voices to the policy makers and decision makers of the public transport sector of Rio de Janeiro. We have trained 50 young people who, since November 2012, have produced a total of seven participatory videos with powerful messages and suggestions on how leaders can improve the city’s public transportation system. From all their recommendations, four were chosen to be implemented locally. This year their new participatory videos will reach a broader audience – the users of the public transportation system. Their participatory videos will be transformed in short segments on a “news-program” format and will be transmitted on the TV screens of over 3000 buses that circulate in Rio.
5. How do you see the future of your project and of participatory video in general?
The main challenges remain finding clients and projects that understand and value the golden rule of participatory video, that is: to trust the process and let go of the editorial control as it is the participants solely that should make all the content decision. It is about participants voices, not about a corporate communication strategy executed by community members.