“It is as if Participatory Video was created by Indigenous Peoples!”

– Anabela Carlon Flores, Yaqui Indigenous Facilitator, Mexico.

The Living Cultures Indigenous Fellowship

Times of crisis create moments of radical change. The emergencies we face today offer us the opportunity to break harmful trajectories. 

At this turning point in history we are in urgent need of powerful stories that inspire us to unite and to radically transform our world.

With the support of the Bertha Foundation and the Staples Trust, InsightShare has launched the Living Cultures Indigenous Fellowship, a groundbreaking strategy that delivers remote training to Indigenous Peoples wishing to harness participatory media as a tool for engaging and mobilizing their communities.

In 2021 InsightShare is training 38 young indigenous leaders based in 6 hubs across Africa and supporting them to use communication technologies safely for self-determination, self-representation and positive local action.

We believe that Indigenous youth, and the cultural traditions they belong to, have much wisdom and experience to offer human society at this critical crossroads. Yet, Indigenous Peoples remain the most marginalised and the least heard: 80% of the world’s biodiversity is on Indigenous lands, but Indigenous Peoples are often criminalised and even killed for protecting these territories. These issues are compounded by lack of access to communications technology and connectivity, low literacy and the erosion of traditional languages and knowledge.

The Black Lives Matter movement, which inspired global protests in 2020, demonstrates the importance and power of linked-up global press and digital and social media activism. These tools give voice to silenced groups and allow movements and solidarity to take root. We will work with Indigenous Peoples of Africa to ensure they too can access these media tools, and lead and inspire radical transformations.

The Fellowship Hubs

The Living Cultures’ Indigenous Fellowship will consist of 18 women and 20 men based in 6 InsightShare Network hubs in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Namibia.


These fellows will be representing some of the oldest indigenous populations on our planet. Their communities have unique stories, cultures, languages and traditions.

The Gurapau hub is based in Lake Turkana, Kenya. Fellows represent the Turkana, El-Molo and Samburu peoples.
The Amava Oluntu hub is based in Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa. Fellows represent the amaPondo and amaXhosa peoples.
The Nyae Nyae hub is based in the Nyae Nyae conservancy in Namibia. Fellows represent the Ju|’hoansi peoples.
The Amadiba hub is based in Amadiba on the eastern coast of South Africa. Fellows represent the amaPondo peoples.
The Oltoilo Le Maa hubs are based in Maasailand in Kenya and Tanzania. Fellows represent Maasai in Tanzania and clans from Nkosesia, Imartin, Nkopon, Ilkerin, Kisokon, Entasekera and Enairebuk in Kenya.

A Decolonising Approach

Indigenous peoples’ disenfranchisement is closely linked to colonisation, globalisation, and systemic inequality. Colonialism and racism persist in our societies and the development sector is not immune to it. 

When working with local communities, international organisations often impose their own assumptions and solutions rather than empowering these same communities to voice their realities.

We believe that young leaders are the experts on their needs and issues. Our approach is founded on bottom-up communications: we are led by our indigenous partners and support them to fertilize the growth of their networks.

“Unlike other kinds of documentation where the outsider documents the stories of the insider, Participatory Video empowers local communities because it is based on participatory approaches – from concept to execution, the local community takes charge. This and the transfer of technological skills and equipment adds up to the empowerment of participants.”

– Seno Tsuhah, Programmes Director NEN Nagaland, India

Media as a tool to strengthen indigenous leadership

Indigenous Peoples and cultures are misrepresented by mainstream media; they need the tools to tell new narratives. 

Community-based indigenous media offer indigenous youth the opportunity to be their own storytellers and to use media to advocate for their rights, to speak with knowledge on critical issues and to protect their cultures, languages and traditions.

Through the fellowship, young leaders are learning how to use digital tools like video cameras, phones and radio, as vehicles for expression, information and dissemination. For the first time, we are bringing community radio and participatory video together to build a stronger Indigenous media network that informs and empowers communities in mother tongues.

Fellows will use media to share their community’s wisdom on environmental protection and to ensure the survival of their cultures and languages.

Since starting Participatory Video five years ago, we have been able to tell stories from our perspective. These stories – that we make, we document – have even reached the UN.”

– Samwel Nangiria, Tanzania Human Rights Defender of the Year

Our Online Model

We use a ‘design-thinking approach’ to ensure that the Fellowship best supports Indigenous facilitators. Consulting with Indigenous associates, we have developed an online and offline programme that best supports the needs and desires of our partners. Using a flipped-classroom approach, we have adapted our resources and toolkits to create a visual and comprehensive curriculum that is not reliant on continuous internet connectivity.

Worldwide travel bans caused by COVID-19 have put a stop to face to face workshops. We took this as an opportunity to restructure our training model so that we could facilitate the fellowship remotely. 

We are connecting with youth based in some of the hardest-to-reach communities on the planet, through remote live training and weekly meetings. Youth leaders are supported by a lead trainer and a team of local and international mentors, who give local and global contexts to their practice.

This innovative approach allows us to reduce our carbon footprint and develop a more sustainable, accessible model of training which can be easily replicated in local languages.

Our remote learning approach also enables a collective online space, in which Fellows can connect, exchange and coordinate across borders, forming the cornerstone of an Indigenous-led network of practitioners.

Between February and October 2021, the Fellowship follows four learning phases to ensure that each step of the learning journey will focus on specific objectives and outcomes.

Be part of our fellowship journey and follow the story on our social media and our newsletter.


Would you like InsightShare to replicate its online training model within your organisations for an advocacy, research, capacity building or monitoring and evaluation project? Then get in touch with us at: info@insightshare.org 

InsightShare’s Living Cultures Indigenous Fellowship is just the first step of our long term strategy to support the growth of autonomous indigenous media networks. 

Ambitious actions need collective support! Any donations submitted to InsightShare will ensure the long term legacy and sustainability of this project.

Support for this programme is spearheaded by the Bertha Foundation and the Staples Trust.