Dryland Forestry

The Making Every Voice Count for Adaptive Management (MEV-CAM) Initiative's Module C What is the key message?


Scaling Out, Scaling Up and Scaling Deep” consists of a series of strategies directed at helping brilliant initiatives aimed at solving the most pressing and complex social and ecological problems by expanding their positive impact on systems. Scaling up targets laws and policy, scaling out looks to impacting greater numbers by replication and dissemination, and scaling deep focuses on the impact of cultural roots.[1]

The Making Every Voice Count for Adaptive Management (MEV-CAM) is actively using these principles, as seen in its Module C training.  Module C, unlike the previous two training modules, focuses on directly extracting and sharing valuable knowledge from the beneficiaries. Community members highlight the best practices that are currently carried out within the landscapes, and together with the trainees, analyze what is needed for them to be upscaled. The results are then presented through a visual medium to eventually be scaled out to other regions. This knowledge sharing process builds upon the foundational skills acquired in both Modules A and B.

The foundation

The participatory video approach takes the term “participatory” very literally. Beginning with Module A, Participatory Video for the Most Significant Change, trainees gained skills on how to work with community members and capture the most significant change seen as a result of newfound lessons learned. Here, the trainees learned how to engage beneficiaries and stakeholders using storyboards and other games to extract the most notable changes seen within their communities. Special attention is given to guarantee women’s participation and their active involvement in the empowerment process. This gender transformative approach is usually taken to scale deep and evaluate the result of a project from the community members’ points of view while also valorizing and strengthening the role of women within the communities.

Module B, on the other hand, demonstrated how to use Participatory Video for Facilitation. Trainees here learned skills on how to empower community members, men and women alike, to create participatory videos for advocacy purposes while simultaneously scaling up their own projects. In doing so, the community members identified areas in which they needed to raise governmental awareness and demonstrated their challenges and needs through these videos. The participatory video for facilitation approach also empowers women leaders to illustrate their practices, contributions, and policy recommendations which they are encouraged to showcase during policy dialogue opportunities at the local level and beyond. With the support of the trainees, stakeholders were able to express themselves in an innovative manner.

For both approaches to perform to their potential, it is important to understand what the beneficiaries want to say and how in order to continue scaling up their landscapes. Only then can the trainees work alongside them to demonstrate innovative ways of sharing these messages with their target audience: whether this is with other communities, teams, policymakers, and other decision-makers. It is through Module C where the trainees are learning skills on how to guide the communities, by scaling down into the landscapes and understanding how and why certain practices have been adopted.

MEV-CAM and the synergies between different landscapes

A handful of teams have been chosen to take part in this module, but the selection of countries was by no means random! In fact, these teams demonstrated great enthusiasm and interest in the PV methodology and found creative ways of applying this technique to their baseline videos.

The francophone teams selected were Burundi, Burkina Faso (GEF-6 and GEF-7) and Niger; meanwhile, for the anglophone cohort teams from Angola, Malawi (GEF-6 and GEF-7), Mongolia, Mozambique, Tanzania (GEF-6 and GEF-7) and Uganda. Nearly half of the trainees were women, too!

Trainees worked with the beneficiaries before Module C began, with teams Malawi and Tanzania specifically illustrating how it is possible to create synergies between the GEF-6 Resilient Food Systems (RFS) and GEF-7 Dryland Sustainable Landscapes Impact Programme (DSL-IP) projects. In the case of these two teams, participants from the GEF-7 projects visited those in the GEF-6 and were able to learn not only about the best practices used, but also about the lessons learned that can be applied and scaled up through future activities to be carried out in the GEF-7 landscape.

Malawi’s team visited the Machinga District, where the community members engaged in “Theatre for Development” as a platform for beneficiaries not only to explore their creativity, but also to share important knowledge about complex social issues and other important practices such as beekeeping.

In Tanzania, trainees highlighted different beekeeping techniques currently used in the Mkalama district, where beekeeping practices were highlighted as one of the main activities to diversify their livelihood sources, whereas it was once frowned upon.

The methodology

This module adopted a “flipped classroom” approach where InsightShare trainers provided guidance on how to perform participatory video editing. In addition to the traditional editing processes, editing for participatory video ensures the voices from the communities are expressed correctly. Trainees learned how to do this by using paper edits, correct subtitles, and overall getting comfortable with the technical side of this initiative.

Participants from Mongolia and Mozambique are finalizing their baseline videos, whereas the trainees from Angola and Malawi are working on their monitoring skills and are creating follow up videos to their baselines. Teams Burundi, Burkina Faso, Niger and Uganda will share the Most Significant Change in their landscapes, illustrating how participatory video is as an effective evaluating tool.

Looking Forward

The MEV-CAM team will continue to work closely with each country to extract the best practices and lessons learned. Together with the FAO country offices and partners, much work will be done to evidence baseline conditions and accompany the projects’ actions while at the same time monitoring the real changes as defined by beneficiaries.

Soon not only the videos will be shared, but also interesting documentation on the experiences from the ground and the best way to upscale them in different landscapes facing similar challenges will be defined. Voices from the ground will have a platform to be heard, acknowledged and made the most of.