Date added: August 7, 2017

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Two of the central challenges in building accountability for marginalised people are how to reach and meaningfully involve the most excluded, and how to establish the kinds of relationships that mean they can achieve, influence and expect government responsiveness.

This report explores how participatory video – an existing methodology for engaging marginalised people – can be adapted and strengthened inclusively to engage citizens and foster responses from decision-makers. It presents four propositions for achieving this:

  • 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.

Each of these propositions is discussed in relation to three concepts that are important elements of accountability initiatives: enabling spaces, bonding and bridging communication, and power-shifting. The discussion draws on two long-term participatory video processes at five sites in two countries, Kenya and Indonesia.

Many participatory governance and accountability processes – and the theoretical discourses and practical approaches underlying them – do not pay enough attention to the need to shape the relational conditions for accountability for marginalised social groups. This can perpetuate exclusionary dynamics. Extended participatory video processes can mediate relationships, but for it to do so there is a need to develop more ethical and effective participatory video practice, and for more work on how to foster support from influential decision-makers.

Specifically, examples from Kenya offer a glimpse of the possibility of using video more effectively to create the diagonal scaling necessary for vertical leverage. In Indonesia, there was also recognition during the decision-maker engagements that bringing villagers’ videos to external forums was not about providing solutions, but prompting social dialogue, which is a current policy priority.

While it is uncertain whether promised or hoped for working relationships with decision-makers will result from the engagements undertaken, the decision-makers in each context saw potential in video-mediated exchange. Videoing processes could therefore be applied more effectively in future if the potential to instigate accountable relations is recognised, and if they are applied more strategically.



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