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Pathways to accountability for marginalised communities – negotiating the possibilities and tensions of extended videoing processes

Institute of Development Studies

“Social accountability processes are unlikely to be inclusive unless they also shift the unequal power dynamics at the root of marginalisation.”
Start date
November 2016
End date
June 2017
Period: 8 months


State corruption and lack of government responsiveness are major concerns for people living in poverty. There is a compelling need for influential decision-makers to learn from and develop accountable relationships with the communities they serve. Accountable governance processes are assumed to be key to developing such relationships. But questions remain about how the most marginalised can participate meaningfully.


This research examines two long-term processes, in Kenya and Indonesia, which have been using participatory video as a tool for building the social and political influence of marginalised citizens, and strengthening government accountability to them.

By learning from these processes, it aims to improve participatory video as an approach to buiding inclusive dynamics and accountable relationships in marginalised contexts. This will assist practitioners and programme leaders in setting realistic expectations when using video to build accountability, and better prepare them to anticipate challenges.


The project is led by IDS Fellow Jackie Shaw, whose expertise lies in the use of visual methods to structure and mediate participatory action research, community development and social learning processes. Jackie is a skilled participatory facilitator, project leader, senior lecturer, international consultant and multi-disciplinary social researcher.


This research presents four propositions for how participatory video can be adapted and strengthened to inclusively engage citizens and foster responses from decision-makers:

Proposition 1: Ensure inclusive engagement during group-forming and building.

Proposition 2: Develop shared purpose and group agency through video exploration and sense-making.

Proposition 3: Enable horizontal scaling through community-level videoing action.

Proposition 4: Support the performance of vertical influence through video-mediated communication.

The following films explain how participatory video processes can facilitate relationships between marginalised communities and policy-makers:

Whats the Message from Real Time on Vimeo.

Driving Change through Video Processes from Real Time on Vimeo.


Pathways to accountability from the margins: reflections on participatory video practice




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