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Tool 21: Community directed visual images
Community directed visual images
Description of tool
This tool includes drawings, photographs, and/or slides which have been "directed" and/or "edited" by the community. They are visual images that insiders choose.
Purpose of the tool
Focus and stimulate group analysis
Support and add interest to written results
Monitor change over time and record events
Can enhance the credibility and interest of written reports.
This tool can be used to focus, analyze and present information from Participatory Baselines, Monitoring and Evaluation.
Using the tool
1. Visual images can be produced easily and economically using locally available skills such as (drawings). Somewhat more expensive are photographs and slides. A professional photographer with some experience in participatory methods may also be considered.
2. There are a number of options available to produce Community Directed Visual Images. Some of these are:
A local artist who works with, and is directed by insiders can produce a series of drawings. The interactive process between the artist and the insiders produces drawings which are, as much as possible, the insiders perceptions.
School children, can be a valuable asset in producing drawings. There are also educational and extension benefits available to the school children. For example, a contest can be organized with the subject of the drawings:
"What our village looked like when my grandfather was a child"
"What our village looked like when my mother was a child"
"What our village looks like now"
"What our village might look like when I am old"
A photographer can obtain direction and/or work with insiders to produce photographs or slides which capture the images the insiders choose to highlight their story, monitor activities, or "tell their story" in a slide/tape presentation. Insiders should discuss and edit photographs/slides.
3. Ensure that the equipment and skills are available. There is some expense using a camera (film, development, projector, etc.) and film development may be a problem in some countries.
4. Discuss and decide on the purpose of producing visuals.
5. Construct a production plan for the visual images: WHAT, WHERE, WHO, WHEN, HOW. Consider available resources. Obtain materials such as paper, drawing implements, boards, and film.
6. If necessary, employ an artist or photographer, and/or organize the school contest. Ensure that resources are available for these services.
7. Produce the visuals. All production can be done at one time, or, if used for monitoring visual images, production may be periodic. If production is periodic consistency is important, for example, if taking an annual photograph of the village, take it from exactly the same location each year.
8. The group then analyze, sort, and/or judge the visual images and either prepare them for presentation or store them safely for use at a later date.
9. Whatever presentation is used, make sure that the materials are sturdy. School drawings can be plasticized, or done on cloth. Photographs can be sealed. Slide shows can be made into more durable filmstrips.
Precautions in using the tool
School children can talk to the different age groups to get an idea of what to draw and these same people can validate the children's interpretations. Having a local artist work with the school children is also possible.
Precautions in using the tool
Insiders must be involved in the production of the visual images, directing the artist or photographer and/or setting the topics for school drawing contests. Yet artistic freedom is also necessary.
Ensure that the photographs/slides are recognized as the property of the community.
Visuals are not always an effective way to make ideas clear. It may be necessary to have some context to add to the visuals. Context can be provided by insiders verbal or recorded explanations of the images.
If a local artist or photographer is used, some training in participatory (listening) methods may be needed. Working with school children, a facilitator/organizer may be needed.
Tool 22: Community directed tape recordings
Community directed tape recordings
A message or story developed by the community can be tape recorded for presentation to the community for analysis, given to local radio stations for broadcasting, used in nearby communities for farmer-to-farmer extension, and/or present to other interested parties such as national governments or donors.
Community Directed Tape Recordings can use interviews with community members, tell a story or record a drama or puppet show that has been developed by the community.
Other options available using this tool are to combine tape recordings with slides for a presentation or to form a dialogue between communities.
Purpose of the tool
Develop a message to present results
Record stories or drama that have been developed using other tools
Assist with information gathering from meetings, focus group discussions, interviews
Communities with an oral (story-telling) culture can record information for analysis and future use (Baseline, Assessment, Evaluation)
Useful for broader extension purposes such as forestry radio programmes
Tape recordings can be combined with slides, drawings or photographs.
Can record verbal goal statements.
Native languages and/or dialects can be used and translated if necessary. Literacy is not required.
Tape recordings can be heard repeatedly to analyze messages.
Using the tool
1. Ensure that tape recording equipment and some skills are available. Depending on the quality, tape recordings may require trained people, directed by insiders, to edit them.
If a high quality product is desired, for example a radio broadcast, editing may take some time. The expenses may initially be high for tape recorder, editing equipment, microphone and tapes, but these may serve many communities. There is the problem that the community must rely on the outsider for audio equipment. However, the benefits are mainly to be found in producing and distributing tape recordings rather than keeping them.
2. If this tool is being used to present results ensure that the results are suitable for tape recording. They should be more oral than visual.
3. If this tool is being used to record discussions make clear to everyone present that the event is being tape recorded.
Precautions in using the tool
Tape recordings may be new to communities. It is important to ensure that the purpose of the recording is clear and people know they are being recorded.
Tool 23: Community directed videos
Community directed videos
Community Directed Videos (this includes film) involve the community in all aspects of production, deciding what "story" will be told, choosing the images and ensuring that the video produced truly represents them. With the help of the equipment and a facilitator, a video (or series of videos or films) can be produced for a specific purpose (evaluation, extension, information gathering problem analysis). The video/film can be used within the community, and can also be distributed to others.
Purpose of the tool
Empowers local people
Analyzes, monitors, and evaluates a specific situation or sets of activities
Documents/records other information gathering tools such as Popular Theatre, Puppet Theatre, and open-ended Stories.
Relays community concerns to national governments, donors, and other interested Parties
Unlike drawings, slides or photographs, video integrates movement and sound and can therefore be more effectively interpreted.
Community Directed Videos are conducted in the community and this allows insiders to communicate their opinions without being intimidated by unfamiliar surroundings.
As well as inspiring self-confidence in the community, videos are a way of helping outsiders understand the insiders perspective. They can also inspire information sharing between communities; and provide evaluation information to donor agencies and decision makers.
Community Directed Videos can gather information on things difficult to understand, such as group dynamics. They can be viewed frequently for analysis.
Video can perform many functions. Group meetings, insider and outsider interactions and other community dynamics can be taped and analyzed. Activities such as planting, nursery construction and distribution can be observed and reviewed frequently to gain insight into various aspects of human interaction.
Because it is visual and oral rather than written, it has many advantages for non-literate or semi-literate populations.
Presentation of results (Popular Theatre, Stories, Puppet Theatre) of Participatory Assessment, Baselines, and Evaluation can be videoed for wider distribution.
Using the tool
1. If the video is being used to communicate with others, insiders and outsiders work together to clearly determine what information they need to convey, to whom they need to convey it, and how they want it conveyed. It is important the community have a clear sense of the message they want to convey before choosing video. Video is a form of communication that should only be used if it is the best, most effective way to communicate.
2. If the video is being used to help with analysis, it is important that the person directing the camera know what is being analyzed.
3. Before choosing this tool it is necessary to have available:
There are many different video formats. Some of them are more "user friendly" and therefore more accessible to people with little technical knowledge. When considering equipment, the following should be taken into account:
get the best technical advice available,
use the format most commonly used in the region,
make sure the system is compatible with available viewing equipment,
the quality required (professional equipment is more difficult to use, but has better quality than consumer video which is easy to use)
if the community will be involved in editing, consider how difficult it will be to operate and have access to the equipment.
The facilitator must be well versed in participatory methods and two way communication techniques. There needs to be a free flow of ideas between the community and the camera.
The costs can be relatively high, but sometimes they are not excessive when the potential benefits are considered. The main cost will be the video facilitators. Many come with their own equipment. Establish what level of quality is needed to help determine costs.
4. Establish how, when and where the final product will be viewed.
5. Determine a plan and a time frame for the different production phases. This will depend on the extent to which the community is involved in the various stages: planning, message design, video taping or filming, pre-edit viewing, editing, post edit viewing, presentation, distribution to outside groups. Remember that the more the community is involved (and hence the more participatory), the more time will have to be allowed for community discussion and input into decision- making. The extent of participation should be carefully considered when planning and scheduling time and expense.
6. Plan appropriate equipment carefully. Special provisions should be made for the care of tapes, especially under conditions of extreme dust, dampness, heat and/or cold.
Ensure that the participants have the time to produce the desired end product.
Precautions in using the tool
Production may take more time than anticipated, and facilitators may be tempted to do most of the work, reducing the participatory benefits.
It can be difficult for large audiences to view videos.
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Other Community Forestry Publications
Community Forestry Notes
1. Household food security and forestry: an analysis of socio-economic
2. Participatory assessment, monitoring and evaluation in community forestry
3. Rapid appraisal
4. Herders' decision-making in natural resources management in arid and semi-arid: Africa.
5. Rapid appraisal of tree and land tenure
6. The major significance of "minor" forest products : the local use and value of forest in the West African humid forest zone
Community Forestry Field Manuals
1. Guidelines for Planning Monitoring and Evaluating Cookstove Programmes
Community Forestry Case Studies
1. Case studies of farm forestry and wasteland development in Gujarat, India
2. Forestland for the people : a village forest project in northeast Thailand
3. Peasant participation and community reforestation : four communities in the Department of Cuzco Peru
Charcoal in northeast Thailand : Rapid rural appraisal of a wood-based small scale entreprise
Community forestry : Lessons from case studies in Asia and the Pacific region
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