This project in Burkina Faso was developed by the White Ribbon Alliance to boost the ongoing campaign for reducing maternal mortality through voices from the ground.
They chose 6 health workers and midwives to take part in a Participatory Video project. During the training we visited health services and families; talking to them, discussing and watching our films to make a film message that would raise awareness and give grassroots solutions for maternal mortality issues in Burkina.
The film was accompanied by a song written by a famous local pop star, Djatta Illibou, who campaigns for this issue.
Three midwives, three community liaison health staff, the leader of the local WRA, a local documentary maker, Brigid from the international WRA and a student volunteer translator from Britain all joined the team.
Emilie Flower (Senior Associate, InsightShare) trained the core team for three days in Oagadougou, spending two days filming in the midwives hospital. They then spent three days in the neighbouring district of Fada where the other three health workers worked.
They visited the hospital and clinics where the group carried out interviews with staff, a village clinic and village where we interviewed women about their experiences. They then visited a womens group in Fada where the previous film was screened, played some pv games and then they interviewed each other. They returned to watch their footage and discuss further.
The group then returned to Ouagadougou and filmed Djatta performing her new song and visited an orphanage she was the patron to.
They left the cameras, a laptop and footage with the editrice who put together a 30-minute documentary. They returned 6 months later to edit together a piece, working with the core team to thrash out a group paper edit from the long version and discussed a lot about presentation, audiences and ethics. Finally they filmed more with a district in Ouagadougou handing over the camera and screening the footage and films they had made that evening for feedback and discussion. The team incorporated this footage into the film and screened them to local journalists and politicians for further feedback from a new audience. This feedback was used to develop the final film, ‘Avec Nous’ which has been screened internationally to raise funds for the alliance and as a tool to influence policymakers at conferences and meetings. It has also been shown in communities throughout Fada and Oagadougou to raise awareness of the issues locally.
The White Ribbon Alliance launched a poster campaign for the film in Oagadougou which led to local discussion that led to the film being taken on and screened by a local television station. The WRA feel that the campaign has contributed significantly to an increase in the health budget for maternal health in Burkina.
“This slightly highbridised approach to PV, with a clear focus on the product required patience with the local partner. Allowing the film they had in mind to be made first and then expanding into more participatory methods where they hand over the camera. We did not hand over the directorial/editing role to the people in the film, but to the local organisation.
Working with a local editor and director was challenging as she had to adapt to the participatory filming and decision-making technique. It is hard to shake attachment to the product. However she was essential for developing a local support network that sustained the work for the team in Burkina.”