Camera, Lights, Action: Participatory video for two-way communication in research for development
Global development objectives increasingly call for interdisciplinary approaches that respond to different development needs at the local level. In order to achieve this, research and development fields must shift from more traditional top-down approaches to those approaches that include community needs assessments and project design, implementation, and follow-up. “Participatory video for two-way communication in research for development” presents the participatory video methodology as an effective crosscutting tool to establish a two-way conversation between researchers and marginalized communities, channeling diverse voices and ideas into research for development while addressing the power dynamics inherent in the research process.
Participatory video involves members of a community in a creative learning process to produce their own video message. Participants engage in analytical and reflective exercises that encourage a shared exploration of community issues, innovative problem-solving, and individual and collective agency. At the same time, the methodology provides insight into local needs, desires, and knowledge and value systems, contributing to an understanding of local perspectives to better inform research and development work.
This paper illustrates the effectiveness of the participatory video methodology through an experience conducted within an agricultural research for development program in Nicaragua, where the methodology contributed directly toward the program’s learning, innovation, and gender and youth empowerment objectives while supporting its productive, economic, and environmental objectives. The paper concludes with an analysis of the effectiveness of participatory video in establishing a two-way communication channel between researchers and participants, considering the limitations of the methodology and its possible applications in various research fields.
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