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Video

When to use it?
This tool is used especially at the end of an intervention process to present key M&E findings

How difficult is it to use it?
Easy – moderate – for experienced users/facilitators

Tool for thought or tool for action?
Thought

Benefits

  • Video is a highly flexible and immediate medium that allows you to make an emotional, meaningful connection with the audience.
  • If you opt for participatory video, with its ability to convey “a rich picture”, it could help to make M&E stories more accessible to all kinds of audiences, and to all parts of the communities themselves, including children, the elderly and the non-literate. Video has a great potential to enhance communication. Ultimately, it can help to link the M&E stories more closely to the localities and to the communities they come from. It helps to strengthen the communities’ sense of ownership and control over the documentation and diffusion of most significant change (MSC) stories.

Issues to be aware of

  • You need to have (at least some) specific video skills and experience to produce a video. If the budget allows, it might be useful to contract a professional video producer.
  • Audiences are likely to be most interested in only a part of the full evaluation report, such as the key findings or a lesson learned about evaluation methods. It is therefore best to have a short video impression on only that aspect, while making the fuller report available to those interested.

Description of the tool
When produced well, videos provide an excellent means to convey messages coming out of an evaluation. Because they combine so many different kinds of images and sound, a lot of information can be conveyed in a short time, and attract much more attention than a poster presentation, for example. Video is a highly flexible and immediate medium, and it allows you to make an emotional meaningful connection with the audience more easily.

Videos can be produced to reach different audiences. They can be used to add variation to a presentation, for example, you can show a clip of a provocative statement made during an interview, or quickly show a before-after scenario around a development intervention. This can be used as part of a (digital) report or to get feedback from specific stakeholders.

Videos can be produced very easily with mobile phones and home video recorders, along with video editing software packages. However, if you would like to distribute a more professional video about the impact of a programme or your organisation’s work, then you will need some amount of resources to cover professional input and time for its production. Such a video is geared towards a wider audience, and can be posted on your website and on YouTube.
Another way that videos can be used in evaluation processes is through the Participatory Video (or PV) option. This option has been used with communities around the world since the mid-1990s, and much information is now available on how to do it. PV differs from conventional (documentary) video production as it places control of the content of the video into the hands of a group or community.

Participatory video can be used to document changes experienced by individuals and groups as they use the tools. If the participants are using the video camera every day, it is not difficult sometimes to shift the focus on to the participatory video process itself. For more information see the Participatory video tool (Section 4.3.8) in this manual.

The choice between making a conventionally produced video or a PV has to do with the objective of the video – for example, consider if you are willing to let go of your organisation’s control of the message then you should produce a professional video. If you want to promote more empowerment and different kinds of communication processes within a community, and if you want to put resources into training people to create the videos themselves then you should consider using PV.

Examples
Video: Personal account of what it is like to be affected by AIDS
"The AIDS epidemic in Southern Africa is placing a great burden on the children of those who are affected. Children often have to take care of the sick and then look after their younger brothers and sisters if their parents die, even when they themselves are still grieving. Nolusindiso’s story offers a moving personal account of what it feels like to live with this burden. She now makes an impact as a caregiver through her work for orphans and vulnerable children, by ensuring that no child in her rural community endures the same struggles that she did." (Source: Sonke Gender Justice Network)

(accessed 10 February 2014)

Digital Video As a Means For Sharing Experiences
This video documents a training workshop Rana Ghose gave in Shillong, Meghalaya, India. It is taken from the perspective of those trained and explains how MiniDV can be used as a tool for their own documentation efforts. The video was produced by: Rana Ghose.

(accessed 10 February 2014)

Steps involved in using the tool

  • The key with video is to show, and not to tell.
  • Be clear about the purpose of the video and the criteria for selecting what should be filmed.
  • It is useful to develop an outline of the storyline (script) ahead of time, keeping your target audience (or potential audiences) in mind. However, it is also important to remain flexible and open to change depending on the footage you get.
  • Having very little script outlined ahead of time is cheaper and allows for more surprises (e.g. fashioning a video from whatever footage results from filming of different events), but it could result in a poorly-focused video, having very little impact.
  • Obtain permission from the targeted participants before videotaping
  • Consider the intended audience when determining video length. For example, shorter videos (10-20 minutes) are more easily brought into a meeting setting
  • Post the video on your website, and also on Youtube to get access to a wider audience

Source and further readings
Websites