InsightShare works with our partners to use Participatory Video to complement and enhance partners’ existing M&E approaches. Participatory Video allows for organisations to gather qualitative data that often escapes traditional monitoring and evaluation tools. It monitors the project lifecycle over time and space through interviews, on-site visual monitoring and most significant change stories.
Our methods add value at every stage of the M&E process from developing a framework to data collection, analysis, documentation and communication. Participatory Video not only adds value to M&E, it gives it a human face.
It is not easy to gauge and communicate what a programme or activity has meant to the lives of beneficiaries. Those best positioned to explore and convey these messages are the beneficiaries themselves – they are trusted sources and speak first-hand about impacts and outcomes. They can select relevant individuals to interview in their communities and monitor relevant key events as they happen. As footage is collected through time and various spaces, all actors can reflect back on changes and progress in the community through screenings, where all are brought together to reflect and discuss.
Our methods help beneficiaries and stakeholders tell their stories and communicate their perspectives in an accessible, compelling and versatile format through a participatory and authentic process.
Planning & Framework: We work with a variety of stakeholders to identify the needs, objectives and indicators of success. Often we also build on existing socio-economic data and baseline surveys to develop a Participatory Video for M&E plan. We can also use videos from other locations so that groups that wouldn’t usually connect can watch each other’s films and hear a variety of perspectives. Areas that may have been overlooked come to light.
Data Collection: Participants agree how to collect data; a variety of creative & culturally appropriate mediums can be incorporated into PV approach: drama, music, storytelling, etc. Most Significant Change (MSC) is also an approach we have used with the African Development Bank (ADB) and other organisations. PV for M&E can serve as a catalyser to involve “hard to reach” groups, who may be missed by traditional surveys and focus groups.
Data Analysis & Documentation: The video footage gathered should be made available largely unedited, and grouped into clips based on the indicators. This is a transparent way to organise the images that is helpful for researchers, development organisations and communities because the themes can be clearly labelled and ordered. Organising the footage by indicator also reduces the editing time and skills level needed, making the editing process more accessible.
Participatory Video is a reflective process. Analysis happens at every stage, especially with regular community screenings. These should be organised after each Participatory Video M&E activity and should be well documented as they often yield new findings, are fertile ground for ideas, offer the opportunity to triangulate information and help groups reach new common ground.
Where possible, reactions from donors, decision makers & other groups should be filmed, enabling a valuable feedback loop for beneficiaries. This is especially useful for scaling up or sharing best practice across networks.
Participatory Video for Monitoring & Evaluation:
Participatory Video for M&E does not substitute traditional M&E tools; it is complementary. Participatory Vide for M&E does however challenge the usual top-down approach often implicit in M&E. Therefore, the organisation involved needs to be willing to engage with iterative learning, see the value of in-depth qualitative analysis and be willing to give up control over the findings gathered by community through Participatory Video.
Using video is a more involved and time consuming method than pen and paper surveys, but yields completely different data. The investment of time versus the depth of the findings needs to be fully comprehended and appreciated by the organisations involved.
“As with stories, video helps to connect people to the reality on the ground. There is a human connection that comes from seeing someone speak, even if it is on video.”
“When community members are asked questions by other villagers, neighbours or relatives, with no project staff in sight, in the comfort of their own homes or backyards, their responses are always very frank and relaxed.”
“Our approach places as much emphasis on the process as on the ﬁnal output”
“The purpose of evaluation is not only to fulﬁll a bureaucratic requirement but also to develop the capacity of stakeholders to assess their environment and take action.” UNDP on M&E
"We've never had so many people show up for our focus groups discussions, even when we covered more villages. This is an incredible turn out and we're getting a lot of new input from people we've never been able to reach before."
"We've learned so much we didn't know about this community through this workshop. The socio-economic surveys we did earlier in the project used just didn't give us this kind of information."
"This is the most participatory workshop I've ever attended, I'm going to try to replicate this approach in everything I do now."
"Now I understand why I have to give up the camera to the community! I didn't know they would be able to do this... now I can learn from them!"
To download a visual flow of how we combine Participatory Video & Most Significant Change click here. For detailed films and information about our latest cutting edge case study where we used this method to build capacity and support adolescent girls in Uganda and Guatemala to evaluate girl programming click here. Or to browse all our films and resources on PV M&E click here.