This is a blog about a particular baking powder that helps create change: Participatory Video. It’s about experiencing, playing, mixing, merging and sharing thoughts originated mostly in the field. Directly from the oven.

Why is Participatory Video like baking powder?

As About.com Home cooking nicely puts it, baking powder unfolds a chemical reaction that ends up in expansion…

Baking powder is basically a blend of acid (most commonly calcium acid phosphate, sodium aluminum sulfate or cream of tartar) and alkali (sodium bicarbonate known commonly as baking soda). By adding water to this mixture, a chemical reaction is achieved, producing carbon dioxide which is trapped in tiny air pockets in the dough or batter. Heat releases additional carbon monoxide and expands the trapped carbon dioxide gas and air to create steam. The pressure expands the trapped air pockets, thus expanding the overall food.

Well, I think Participatory Video is one of those tools that unfolds a chemical reaction in social change. It’s not at all the main ingredient though. It’s not the flour, sugar, eggs or water of the cake. Not even the vanilla stick, grated carrots or orange zest. All those are the multiple dynamic variables interconnecting in a set context, having fun basically in a complex social system. But Participatory Video releases hidden forces in people’s lives that helps them create change.

A tool that has the potential to be disruptive in the aid industry, humanize development, shift power dynamics, connect people and transform their relationships with themselves and the world. Yes, I am biased, but you can see here some background research I’ve done on the topic. Yes, I am also biased on the participation front, but I also highlight the word potential as I expect to share contradictory learning and ideas as they come out of field work. All this to evidence if, when, how and why Participatory Video becomes the baking powder for change.


This is a personal blog about work that I do as a Participatory Video trainer at InsightShare, people I meet through that work and things I wonder about related to work. It does not represent official views of my organization. Any opinions expressed herein are my own, and I take responsibility for them.”

Who am I? People know me as Sole in real life, and as @solemu on twitter. If you need a longer answer, check out my linkedin.


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