OverviewDo’s and don’ts
Related Tools

Film screening and participatory video production

Last edited: January 03, 2012

This content is available in


Demonstrations, marches and rallies are potentially powerful ways of expressing public feeling on an issue. In communities they can be part of local-level political advocacy (e.g. to protest against a judgment which has failed to punish a rapist) or a celebration or commemoration (e.g. International Women’s Day, a campaign launch). Please refer to Demonstrations, marches, rallies for step-by-step guidance on when and how to organize these.

Film screening and participatory video production

Meetings involving a video or film screening can attract large audiences in contexts where people do not have easy access to television. Using mobile power units and simple equipment, you can show films virtually anywhere.

A particularly powerful way to stimulate discussion is digital video production by, or with the participation of, community members. Both the product and the process of video-making stimulate critical thought and discussion among participants and viewers, who are emotionally engaged by seeing themselves and other community members on screen. To draw maximum benefit from video production, make sure women and girls from the community play leading roles in it. For guidance and tools on producing videos, see Video, Film, Radio under Audio-visual media in this module.


Example: The Through Our Eyes’ participatory video initiative was piloted in Guinea and Liberia in 2005 by the American Refugee Committee (ARC) in collaboration with Communication for Change. Project activities began with a two-week training workshop in participatory video carried out at Lainé refugee camp (Guinea) for ARC field staff and members of camp committees responsible for referring sexual and gender based violence cases to ARC. Participants learned how to use the equipment, engage community members, carry out interviews and develop team skills in programme planning and filming. At the end of the training course they made a documentary on early/ forced marriage and short dramas on rape and community response to domestic abuse.

Liberia-based ARC staff returned home with their video equipment and proceeded to share their skills with community peers who had been trained in SGBV prevention and response. This new team soon produced their first video: a profile of a local man, a former alcoholic who used to abuse his wife but who had overcome his addiction and become a responsible husband and father.

Community screenings – playbacks’ – of the team’s video productions have prompted many individuals to seek ARC services. Community peers and field staff open the sessions by describing ARC’s gender based violence-related programme and services. After the screenings, which are usually attended by 30 to 100 people, audience members discuss the issues raised. Some share personal stories or offer ideas on how to tackle the problems.

Watch a video on the project here.


Source: Adapted from Molony, T., Konie, Z., Goodsmith, L., 2007. “Through Our Eyes: Participatory Video in West Africa”, in Forced Migration Review 27.