In the past, traditional approaches to engaging communities in monitoring humanitarian programmes consisted of mainly asking for data from the communities. Today, a greater emphasis has been placed on engaging communities throughout the monitoring and/or evaluation process. In the last couple years, IFRC’s Monitoring and Evaluation team have applied participatory video techniques to promote efficient and inclusive monitoring mechanisms with the communities. In 2017, they took this approach to the next level.

“Our Story” is a mobile application developed by Open Lab at Newcastle University to gather participatory feedback in the field. This app is a spin-off of “Bootlegger,” a tool designed to help non-film experts to capture and edit video footage. The application is a perfect fit for a methodology that focuses on gathering information from the eyes of community representatives on relevant issues regarding the evaluated project. The data collected through the videos serve to highlight concerns which need to be addressed not only at the community level but also amongst the targeted groups.

In collaboration with the Indonesian Red Cross Society (PMI) and the IFRC country cluster office, “Our Story” was tested. The community of Tumbit Melayu in Indonesia became a movie set where women, men, youth, and elderly were the central performers and directors. The objective was to gather their feedback on a water, sanitation and hygiene promotion (WASH) project implemented by PMI with the support of IFRC.

Ahmad Ridwan with just twelve years old directed his own short-film on floods affecting his community:

Highlights of the pilot include cost-effectiveness since no external consultants or expensive equipment was required. All the stories were planned, directed, filmed and edited by the community members themselves in an environment with low internet connectivity. Lastly, the app provided community members with a tool that allowed them to control the creation of their story. In the future, such a method can significantly increase community interest and engagement in IFRC and/or National Society-led projects.

For more information contact Miki Tsukamoto, Coordinator, M&E, IFRC Geneva.

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