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Use of Participatory Videos for Advocacy

Once again, I am walking down the memory lane of Bangladesh. At a workshop held at YPSA Resource Center, Sitakund (Feb. 22-24, 2006), I met a number of participants representing diffrent Community Based Organisations (CBOs). Since it was a residential workshop, I had the opportunity to interact with almost all of them, and learn about thier unique initiatives. My knowledge of Bangla was a shot in the arm, as most of them could speak and understand only Bangla; and above all, it provided an immediate and quick bonding. Not all of them were using ICTs for development; but the way some of them were using ICTs was fascinating for me. Here, I am sharing one of them.

Speed Trust is a Barisal based organisation that uses 'participatory videos' for advocacy purposes. Using videos for providing advocacy opportunities was a new concept for me; although many of you might have heard about it. While talking to Mohd. Shohel, Speed Trusts's Programme Officer (Advocacy), I came to know that since administration in Bangladesh is highly centralized, the marginalised and poor people don't get the opportunity to voice their grievances, as they don't have the time, money and energy to travell long distances.

The Speed Trust intervened in this regard and came up with a brilliant idea to show as well as voice their problems. Under its participatory video programme, it records their grievances and presents them before the right official for their redressal. These cover a variety of subjects related to education, health and 'khas' land (These are small river islands used for cultivation. These are government property. There is a lot of corruption in their allotment for cultivation, and the poor and needy cultivators usually get excluded). After making a video on the whole issue, they convey it to the service providers and concerned officials. Then, they use the same medium to record the officials' comments and show it to the people. It is proving to be powerful two-way communication tool. They have shot 300 hours of partcipatory video covering different community issues. Its really impressive!


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