FAO’s participatory video toolkit: empowering communities with visual storytelling

The toolkit offers a step-by-step approach to plan and implement participatory video for knowledge sharing, monitoring changes in development projects and enhancing sustainability in dryland forests.

Photo: FAO Jordan

FAO’s ‘Making Every Voice Count for Adaptive Management’ (MEV-CAM) initiative recently announced a practical guide on leveraging participatory video, an inventive community-driven method aimed at monitoring changes in development projects and enhancing sustainability in dryland forests and agrosilvopastoral systems.

The Participatory Video Toolkit, Applying MEV-CAM Tools: Participatory Video offers a step-by-step approach to plan and implement participatory video for various purposes, such as monitoring and knowledge sharing, applicable to both ongoing and new projects. Participatory video empowers communities to utilize visual media to document and share best practices by collecting knowledge and illustrating changes in their landscapes. It challenges conventional project monitoring methods that rely on extensive written reports, often neglecting community perspectives and experiences.

Developed in collaboration with participatory video experts from InsightShare, and tested with 70 trainees in three diverse regions, the toolkit incorporates insights from case studies spanning four countries. The MEV-CAM team worked with local communities to collaborate with project facilitators and organizations, enabling them to capture, monitor, and share on-the-ground changes brought about by projects.

Alongside the new Toolkit, MEV-CAM launched two participatory videos this year made by communities in Malawi and Burundi, showcasing their skills, details on how to implement the practices, and how this knowledge benefitted their livelihoods. In addition, six good practices were captured by communities in Jordan, Uganda, and Malawi. These include compost making, live fencing, farmer managed natural regeneration, beekeeping, gabion baskets, and theatre for development. All products can be easily found in MEV-CAM’s Knowledge Bank.

The Making Every Voice Count for Adaptive Management initiative was launched in 2020 to revolutionize South-South knowledge management. MEV-CAM employs local and indigenous expertise to restore degraded drylands through the adoption of sustainable practices. Operating across 18 countries and three regions, MEV-CAM utilizes process documentation and participatory video to advance FAO’s mission of fostering better production, nutrition, environment, and overall quality of life, ensuring no one is left behind.

To learn more, please contact MEV-CAM@fao.org

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The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Their goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. With over 194 member states, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide.