Participatory Video for Capacity Building

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Our in depth training model has been developed and refined over years of successful application in many different countries and contexts. It can be easily modified to fit with the particular needs and context of different organisations, programmes or projects.


This model aims to develop deep local ownership of the participatory video process, empower the groups and individuals we work with and build long-term local capacity for ongoing Participatory Video activities. Instead of InsightShare trainers facilitating a Participatory Video project directly with target groups, we take a step backwards. We train and support local people, drawn from the target community and/or from partner organizations, to become Participatory Video facilitators themselves within the framework of a 3 stage capacity building process.

  1. Training for representatives from partner organizations and their constituents
  2. The application of PV with local community groups;
  3. Ongoing support from PV experts.


Our trainings are designed around principles of experiential learning: employing a wide range of visual techniques that enhance creativity, sharing, reflection and learning. These include games and group exercises as well as hands on facilitation experience. Beware - side effects include some deep personal and group shifts as well as plenty of fun & laughter!

InsightShare teaches Participatory Video as a method of working with groups or communities to enable them to tell their own stories in their own words. It is a powerful tool for activating groups and communities and enabling them to communicate with each other and with outside agencies, such as government, media, donors, NGOs, etc. Anybody can be a participant in a PV project: male and female; young and old; villagers and city dwellers; literate and illiterate. Participants may have no knowledge of camera equipment or how to make a film.

“Personally I was impressed with the entire training especially the facilitation which I think gave us as participants an opportunity to figure out things ourselves and for me that stands out. I learnt a lot from the course, the atmosphere has just been phenomenal. There has been a lot of sharing and I’m very grateful to everybody”
Kitso Masi, trainee Seydel, Botswana

“When we came here we didn’t know about cutaways and fades. It is great that we have learned to shoot and edit a movie with no previous schooling.”

Mthembu, trainee, Inanda township

“I couldn’t believe that without any previous experience these trainees managed to make seven films in just seven days!”

Michelle Leibrandt, Training Initiator, Valley Trust, South Africa


 3 Stage Capacity Building:

  1. Hands-on training: An initial 11-day training workshop is held. Together we introduce the PV process into 1 or 2 communities during 3-4 days of field work which form a core part of this training. Trainees work with community members to help them plan and film 3-6 short locally-made video messages. The videos are then edited by the trainees with the guidance and full informed consent of the community participants. The Participatory Videos that are created during the training can be used as tools for community awareness raising and spreading the impact of the work to other communities, researchers, NGO’s, donors and policy makers.
  2. Follow up: Senior trainers from InsightShare mentor participants as they carry out PV assignments themselves. Usually 6 months later all trainees come back together for a 4 to 5 day follow-up workshop, to discuss challenges and achievements and consolidate learning. A peer review of the various Participatory Video activities takes place focussing as much on the process, ethics and level of participation as on the films produced. This mutual learning can be linked to a wider workshop, festival etc.
  3. Strategic application: Senior trainers work with partners to integrate PV into their organisational or community strategy. Our PV toolkits are introduced: Rights-based approach, Monitoring and Evaluation, People’s Video Hubs; as we help develop pathways to self-sufficiency and autonomy.

  • Language barriers can slow the pace of a workshop but don’t need to be a significant obstacle. Out team can carry out trainings fluently in French, Spanish or English and in some cases we have work through local translators.
  • Choosing the best trainees is important. To help partners make the best choices we have developed detailed trainee profile sheets. We always encourage partners to include target group members among the trainee team. Staff members receiving training should be fieldworkers rather than administrative staff.
  • The logistics of setting up a training and bringing in trainees, sometimes from diverse locations can be challenging! We have a lot of experience of setting up and running these trainings smoothly and will work closely with local partners.
  • It is important that organisations wishing to work with Participatory Video provide the right moral and physical environment for PV to flourish. We try to avoid organisational bottle-necks through making sure the commitment to work with our Participatory Video values and methodology comes from the top levels right from the start.
  • We increasingly work directly with community based organisations (CBOs) and informal community groups to set up PV hubs.
  • Basic PV equipment must be bought and made accessible to trainees longterm. The technology is becoming more and more affordable and skillfull planning & management can ensure this equipment continues to be used to empower communities for many years after the training.