In March 2009, Gareth Benest and Isabelle Lemaire (Project / Programme Directors) from InsightShare went to Oltepesi in Kenya to undertake a Participatory Video project with members from the Maasaï community, as part of the Conversations With the Earth (CWE) project. The participants focused their attention on the devastating droughts that were killing vast numbers of their livestock, thus threatening their livelihoods and pastoralist culture. The film they created, in between tending to their own livestock, is titled ‘Eng’eno Eishoi Ng’ejuk (Knowledge for the young generation)’ and forms a powerful testimony to the terrifying consequences of changing rain patterns and resource depletion. It documents the difficulties children, women, men and animals experience because of the water shortage, the ways they cope and the alternative livelihoods they envisage for the future. Their film shares testimonies from the group and their family and friends as visual evidence of the impacts of the extreme drought.
Action plan 2010
After producing their first video, three participants (Jemimah, Moses and Stanley) have received ongoing support and training from InsightShare to continue using Participatory Video amongst the Maasaï community. They attended the recent UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen during which they worked with representatives from our other Peoples Video Hubs to formulate and agree action plans for the PV work during 2010. Here are the areas of focus for the Kenya Hub as identified by Jemimah, Moses and Stanley:
Maasai culture in crisis: document ceremonies and interview community members. Include many households and hold regular screenings.
Youth activities: explore livelihood challenges and reasons behind migration to urban areas. Support youth forums.
Education: document challenges and raise awareness amongst parents. Reduce drop-out rates and show impact of non-attendance.
Linking communities: train members of Maasai communities in Tanzania and undertake exchanges
Drought: explore links to education, culture and food sovereignty
“Due to the prolonged drought, many families lost all their livestock. When you interview them and ask them how many livestock they have lost they break down in tears. Since you also come from that community you are emotionally affected too. Climate change is also affecting our culture. Cattle, in particular, have an importance that goes beyond meat production. Cattle are traditionally used for paying dowries and blessings.”
Stanley Selian Konini, Kenya Hub Facilitator
"The whole trip was exiting starting from the retreat in the north of Denmark near the sweet breeze of the Baltic ocean where it was my first time to come into contact with my second family that comprises of all the members of the six hubs. Within the family, I had people whom in my heart I called Dads, mums, grand mum, sisters and brothers. The retreat made me share my experience with my family and out of it, I learned that we have common things as indigenous people on earth; same problems and specific culture. This makes us sail in the same boat."
Jemimah Maitei Kerenge, Kenya Hub Facilitator
Part of Conversations with the Earth
Through the Conversations with the Earth (CWE) partnership, InsightShare works with Indigenous communities to identify, train, and equip local videographers to enable them to record the impacts of, and responses to, climate change at the local level. Creating and sharing these video stories enables Indigenous peoples to contemplate and present their own perspectives on the effects of climate change to inform the global discourse. This has also created an opportunity to share local adaptation strategies and build donor support for community-based adaptation. Indigenous videographers are training people from other communities, helping to create a regional and a global network of Indigenous communities working on these issues. Communities participating in CWE are creating their own media and linking up through the emerging media hub network.
A CWE media hub is currently a space where video and audio equipment is stored and editing can take place, and is usually based in an Indigenous community or village. It becomes a focal point for communications, empowerment and cultural resilience. If possible, it is connected to the web and has electricity or renewable power source available for charging batteries and laptops etc. Local facilitators, who are paid a small stipend, provide support, resources, and equipment and reach out to include new local groups through developing participatory video projects. In some cases an InsightShare trainer is based here and organizes regional and international trainings and mentoring local indigenous trainers. A hub is envisioned as a catalyst for action in local communities but has a global reach as well. In 2010 the hubs will have the opportunity to broaden their media and communications skills further training by CWE partners and allies.