I’ve been busy writing for others during the last months and didn’t have a chance to post in my own blog! To feel less guilty, I’m sharing here some of the latest blogs, article and video presentation I created on Participatory Video, hoping it’s a useful resource for you:
- Participatory video for M&E: supporting bottom-up learning. ONTRAC 55, INTRAC magazine. This ONTRAC issue focuses on ICTs in M&E and how we can push the boundaries. You can download it for free!
Participatory Video: an approach to community-led and community-owned development. Local First Blog. Local First is a great initiative sharing good practice on community-led and community-owned development. They kindly invited me to write an introduction to Participatory Video as practice by InsightShare. A good intro for those who are still wondering what Participatory Video can do for you!
- Video presentation for the American Evaluation Association conference 2013: The strengths and challenges of Participatory Video for M&E in gender-based violence programmes. I was invited by UN Women to be part of this panel, so I created this video to share my presentation by distance as I didn’t have a chance to attend this year in person. A good resource if you work or are interested in gender-based violence programming.
Participatory Video for M&E: unpacking how change happened. Better Evaluation Blog. This is my latest piece. ODI invited me to be part of their video for evaluation blog series. I focused on one of my latest projects in Kenya.
I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section. All views welcomed!
The third stage of the Participatory Video for Monitoring & Evaluation capacity building process that I’ve been working on in Guatemala has come to an end. After completing stages 1 and 2 (see this and this other posts respectively on those stages) focusing on monitoring girl programming, stage 3 was focused on carrying out a participatory evaluation analysing all the stories of change, collected using PV MSC: Participatory Video combined with the Most Significant Change storytelling method.
These days have been a great time to work on the fine line of when to be actively facilitating and when to have complete hands off the process. It’s been a time to let the trainees go and fly by themselves, while finishing the capacity building process that we’ve started in August 2011.
The girls have made a big progress in both Participatory Video & facilitation skills as much as in critical thinking. The initial days have lend themselves to be a process adjusted to their rhythm with an analysis structure that was simple, repetitive and that merged individual and collective thinking, going deeper in each day.
Watching – reflecting – filming has been the other key to success. Films prompted ideas, and through active facilitation we supported them to think how and why social change happens. This process harvested learning to create films about it. After screenings, the trainees discussed about the films to make sure that all the results and information were well represented. Re-shooting also deepen their space for thinking about those ideas.
Our role was primarily to give trainees structure, but lose enough to let them make sense of their ideas. They defined concepts, enablers and disablers of change. They dramatised how change happens and then incorporated other stakeholders in the process: beneficiaries & staff.
The process of facilitating others to respond to films followed the same flow: watching – reflecting – filming. That was 100% facilitated by trainees, without any support from us. They managed to connect with the groups, facilitate with great skill the complete process independently and ask difficult questions in a soft and natural way. The groups enjoyed the process and gave their best in their response dramas.
Finally… How to present all in a coherently way, in their own words? Beyond the dramas created by each group and the analysis dramas built up by the trainees, a complete video report was essential for any outsider to make sense and see it as a rigorous process that included triangulation and participation of diverse groups in the sample. The girl leaders created a video report including a description of the participatory evaluation process and a summary of the main findings.
Clearly hands off was the best way to build up their confidence and let them grow as facilitators. Now, they are ready to fly on their own.
Yes. Crazily enough, time has gone extremely quickly once again. I’m in Antigua Guatemala, for the third time. And I didn’t even have the chance yet to absorb that half of the project was finished last year!
So many things have happened since the last time I was able to sit and write about it in this blog. The Participatory Video for Monitoring & Evaluation project that I’ve been working on had advanced the capacity building process in Stage 2, last November, and also finished its monitoring of girl programming. We are now starting the participatory evaluation at country level and the sustainability plans for incorporating the tool in the regular M&E life cycle of the partner organisation.
What have we learnt so far? Well, below are some key things that we’ve achieved and faced in Stage 2.
What went well:
- Team work: the group cohesion increased and the trainees are able to perform as members of functional groups.
- Critical thinking: trainees were able to identify issues linked the MSC stories filmed, tagging them into domains with ease.
- PV MSC process: The method and process required for collection and selection is clear for the trainees, who are able to perform independently of the trainers.
- Local staff assigned to the project: Great support of the staff assigned to the project was essential to accompany the trainees’ evolution during post-training assignment 1 (PTA1) and Stage 2.
- Logistics: The logistics for PTA1 and Stage 2 were both satisfactory thanks to the high level organisation done by the M&E coordinator from the partner organisation.
- Documentary makers visit: The visit and exchange with a filmmaker and his crew, who was commissioned with the production of a documentary for the UN fund to prevent gender-based violence, was an interesting and positive experience for the trainees, who not only were at ease while being filmed and interviewed, but who also pointed out their cameras to interview the filmmaker!
- Audiovisual skills: trainees harnessed their skills, incorporating understanding on the importance of diversity of images and sound and video language.
- Online platforms: Trainees learnt how to use Vimeo and upload videos into their channel; created a facebook account and joined a secret group to exchange photos and comments in a safe space; opened a gmail account and join a google group created for the initiative to easily write to all those involved in it.
- Editing skills: Trainees sharpened their editing skills with advanced sound and titles skills, as well as being able to export videos for DVDs, internet and full quality. They also learnt how to do dubbing from Spanish into their mother tongues, adding up to their existing skills of subtitling, and how to burn DVDs with another piece of software.
- Girl-to-Girl exchange: Trainees re-connected with the trainees in a similar project in Uganda and had a conversation through skype, discussing about their process, what they liked so far and what they’ve found difficult.
- Celebration: The last day, the partner organised a dinner to close Stage 2 and the trainees planned surprises. It included fun, laughter and a deep moment exchanging gifts and messages.
What didn’t go so well:
- Shifting power relations: The girl mentors had difficulties accepting the new role of the girl trainees, not only being now girl leaders but also acting as facilitators of PV MSC, and the new status that this role gives them in the programme. The partner staff is aware of the reactions and are following up closely the process of the girl mentors as well as supporting fully the trainees.
- Busy time: November was a busy time for staff, having many activities to attend and support in the same two weeks, which stretched them and reduced their attention to Stage 2. Nevertheless, the M&E Coordinator was available and following up closely the delivery, participating as much as it was in his capacity, while also coordinating the logistics. The intern to this initiative was supporting us during the whole workshop.
- MSC collection: Less girl participants than predicted attended the MSC collection. Instead of having three groups we had to re-organise the teams and create two groups to collect stories of change. One group included alumni and current girl mentors. The second group included 13-17 girl club participants. The re-organisation of the trainees caused some confusion and clashing of their planned roles. Nevertheless, trainees performed well and girl participants enjoyed the process.
- Jealousy: The trainees felt jealous and tense when they had to share their space with the 13-17 girl participants. The trainers and staff had a deep conversation in which trainees were able to appreciate their new role and the importance of being inclusive and supportive of all the girls they have to work with.
The pearl: Trainees giving their impressions of the NGO world
One memorable moment in Stage 2 was the trainees representing diverse stakeholders that influence the programme and they want to influence through the videos. Some tough words were said about governments and corporates, but the one actor that was perceived by them as a “sympathetic friend” that would empathize with their cause was the development sector. Just to remind the readers, these are 16 to 25 year-old strong young women and leaders in their communities, coordinating girl clubs and now becoming PV M&E facilitators. They described us (and when I mean us, I include anyone working in the development and aid world) as people with willingness to support and help from the heart, thoughtful, emotional, and with eagerness to create new projects to improve the lives of young girls.
I leave it to you to digest that image and try to think if we fulfil their expectations…