Putting communities in control of evaluations: the participatory video approach

Source: Fri, 23 Mar 2018 02:40 PM
Women in Northern Bangladesh identify what was helpful to them during the 2016 floods. InsightShare.
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InsightShare will be discussing the use of participatory video, based on learning from the Bangladesh pilot, in our next online webinar on Monday 26th March 2018, 1pm GMT.

Register here


During times of disasters, humanitarians provide many types of assistance. However, does this assistance make a difference to affected communities?This question is usually captured in NGO project evaluation reports and done by expert consultants without much direction from and involvement of communities to evaluate the projects that are meant to serve them; leading to little change in how future programmes might address community concerns. A new tool has the power to shift this.

In 2017 as part of CDAC Network’s UKaid-funded Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP), InsightShare partnered with ActionAid to explore how participatory video could be used to enable disaster affected communities to evaluate humanitarian projects. Together they carried out a six month-pilot project that focused on the experiences of two communities in Northern Bangladesh during the 2016 floods.

The participatory video process involves engaging community members in story-telling, which becomes a powerful process of sharing experiences, concerns and insights as well as a tool to provide feedback and hold duty bearers to account in a visually compelling way. It also offers a medium to engage different stakeholders, spark discussions and highlight differing perspectives, often revealing the heterogeneity of communities and their needs that traditional evaluations might miss.

To carry out the evaluation, six youth from the two pilot communities were trained to form the evaluation team and to play a central role in all stages of the process, including data collection and analysis, video shooting, editing and screening facilitation. Simultaneously, two ActionAid staff members were trained to guide and coordinate the process.

The participatory process highlighted different concerns relating to the humanitarian response in the two pilot areas in the area of food, shelter and aid provision. For example, many community members noted that government aid provision did not reach them in time and it did not reach those who are most poor but those that are richer and better connected. Therefore through the video interviews, many community members requested the government to tackle nepotism and corruption. Another key realisation was that the infrastructure needed to be upgraded, for example raising the height of the dam and the embankments in order to prevent yearly flooding.These videos with such suggestions have been shared with key response stakeholders, including government, media and NGOs, leading to much wider engagement with the community on the issues raised.

In the process, communities felt empowered to examine their own resilience in the disaster response and how it can be improved in the future. For example,  communities identified how local volunteers can be trained to undertake needs assessment so that the correct people are identified and also in preparedness work before the rainy season. They also identified ways of managing food, collective cooking and community shelters through setting up a committee.

The learning from the pilots has been captured in a blog and a guide on participatory video for humanitarian aid evaluation was also produced for those interested in replicating the approach. These can be downloaded below.

The guide is available both in English (below) and Bangla (forthcoming). It is designed for the humanitarian sector and can be used by evaluators, humanitarian actors and those working with disaster affected communities and interested in exploring innovative approaches to community evaluation. The participatory methodology outlined in the guide, is based on InsightShare’s participatory video and Most Significant Change methodology. It is meant to be user-friendly, practical guidance on the planning and execution of participatory video evaluation.


Download the blog and guide below. The Bangla version of the guide will be added in due course.

Watch the film capturing the pilot project learning



Download PDF: GUIDE Participatory Video for Humanitarian Aid Evaluation Download PDF: GUIDE Participatory Video for Humanitarian Aid Evaluation Download PDF: BLOG Listening is not enough: using participatory video for evaluation Download PDF: BLOG Listening is not enough: using participatory video for evaluation

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