Credit: J.C. Domingos (FAO)

MEVCAM and the power of sharing experiences

The ‘Making Every Voice Count for Adaptive Management’ (MEV-CAM) initiative from FAO provides an update as they move through the stages of the programme, collecting important insight from communities on the ground in dryland areas.

The ‘Making Every Voice Count for Adaptive Management' (MEV-CAM) initiative has kicked off the next part of its training; a series of sessions known as “Case Clinics” and “Peer-to-Peer Sharing Events". These will help trainees share knowledge captured on the ground, learn from others’ experiences and consequently upscale practices with a better understanding of the possible constraints they may face.

These sessions are key steps between Module A (Participatory Videos and Most Significant Change), Module B (Participatory Video Facilitation) and the upcoming modules which are focused on editing skills development and the Training of Trainers.

Results from Case Clinics

During the Case Clinic sessions, trainees who have gone to the field have the floor to share their struggles in implementing such a new approach to their work and find support in others facing the same issues, whilst trying to find the best ways to tackle them together.

 “This reminds me that I am not alone and that it is a learning-while-doing process”, which “is characterized by its variability and its sensibility to the response from the communities they are working with”, said one trainee. Participatory Videos are not meant to be perfect but are meant to be real, showing a clear view of what is happening on the ground and sharing the perspectives and opinions of the beneficiaries. It is not meant to be a documentary of the project’s progress, but a knowledge experience process involving local communities facing the same challenges.

Heartfelt reflections have also been shared with the group, such as from a trainee from Mozambique with a communications background. “This approach opened my eyes to a different way of gathering information for the ground. It allows the community to actually interact with you and so they don’t feel like a prop for a video but a real part of the process,” they said.

That is the beauty of this approach. Even though contexts are very different from one another, and experiences can vary greatly for everyone participating, there is a common ground: the desire to share a message and give the floor to those who are often not given the chance to speak up.

Knowledge sharing

During these sessions FAO had the opportunity to hear and learn from the struggles of the teams in RFS Niger, Malawi and Tanzania, as well as Lebanon, Namibia, Mongolia, Angola and Mozambique. This has helped the team come up with many solutions as a group effort to improve future experiences using the Participatory Video approach, which has also improved the synergies between the GEF-6 Resilient Food Systems (RFS) and GEF-7 Dryland Sustainable Landscapes Impact Programme (DSL-IP) projects.

In June, FAO also had Peer-to-Peer Sharing Events to which project coordinators were invited, as this is a great opportunity to soak in the experiences of those who carried out activities in the field. These events concluded this phase of the MEVCAM initiative and trainees presented a more complete rundown of their experiences in the field, sharing in better detail the background, the process, practices highlighted by their work, the results of their efforts on the ground, and the messages captured.

Outcomes: what’s next?

To round off the programme, trainees will work together to create a collective action plan centred on making Participatory Videos a permanent tool in project cycles in the future and reflect on the main lessons learned throughout this process so far – in line with the South-South Triangle Cooperation Program’s approach on knowledge creation and dissemination.

Between the last week of June and the first week of July 2022 is the beginning of Module C. This Module consists of a session to deepen trainees’ knowledge in video editing to bring out the best outputs from their footage. We cannot wait to share the final videos!

Participants in the field and on the ground. Photo credit: FAO/J.C. Domingos.
Participants in the field and on the ground. Photo credit: FAO/J.C. Domingos.

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