Community Correspondents

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In 2013/14, PACS and partner Video Volunteers trained a network of 45 Community Correspondents in video journalism, enabling them to expose under-reported stories affecting their communities. In 2015/16, PACS developed the network, working with 75 Correspondents and specifically highlighting the issues of violence against women, education and MGNREGA employment.

Premlata - one of our Community Correspondents - films an issue in her local community using a flip cam.

What is the Community Correspondents Network?

The Community Correspondents Network (CCN) is an initiative, run by PACS partner Video Volunteers, that trains local community members to become "Community Correspondents" (video journalists). 

The Community Correspondents are trained to capture citizen priorities, concerns and perspectives using their own hand-held video cameras. The videos are then used to support advocacy at local, state and national levels to bring about change.

Making a video is a three-stage process:

  1. The Community Correspondent first plans and makes an “issue video” about a problem in their community. The footage is edited into a short 3-minute film by Video Volunteers staff. 
  2. The Community Correspondent then seeks to resolve the problem by showing their video to relevant government authorities or asking community members to pressurise officials through phone calls. The video is also promoted by Video Volunteers on their website, Youtube channel and social media.
  3. If this advocacy results in positive change, the Community Correspondent is then commissioned to produce an “impact video” to show the change that has occurred.

Why is the CCN helpful for socially excluded groups?

In India, caste and class disparities dominate the news, often narrated by journalists who are not from lower caste and class communities. As a result, there is a great need for the inclusion of socially excluded groups in the production of their own stories and media.

The CCN is a classic model that shows how video can be used by communities to highlight issues that are often ignored by the mainstream media.

Arti Bai, one of the Community Correspondents, explains how being part of the community is a benefit: “If there are issues, those issues affect you as well and you are able to look at those issues on behalf of the community. You don’t separate yourself from the community, that’s very important.”

How has PACS been involved with the CCN?

PACS has worked with Video Volunteers in two phases to train and support Community Correspondents to highlight, represent and advocate on issues that are faced by socially excluded communities.

In the first phase of the project (February 2013 - December 2014), PACS funded the training of 45 Community Correspondents in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

In the second phase of the project (July 2015 - January 2016), PACS supported 75 existing Community Correspondents from across all seven PACS States. In addition, PACS funded the training of Community Correspondents from across the Video Volunteers network to film videos using a gender lens, specifically looking at the issues of domestic violence, women's employment under the MGNREGA employment scheme and girls' education.

What impact has the PACS CCN had?

In phase one, the 45 PACS Community Correspondents in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh made 444 “issue videos” and 52 “impact videos”. Shabnam, Ramsakhi and Tanju are just three of the Community Correspondents who produced "impact videos".

In phase two, the 75 PACS Community Correspondents in all seven PACS States produced an additional 148 "issue videos" and 18 "impact videos". In addition, 122 Community Correspondents (from across the Video Volunteers network) received training on how to film videos using a gender lens. They were also trained how to identify and film stories on the issues of domestic violence, women's MGNREGA employment and girls' education.

The biggest achievement of the project has been to provide a space for the voices and issues of historically marginalised groups to be heard. Indeed, some of the PACS Community Correspondents (like Saroj, Kranti and Reshmi) have gone on to take up official leadership roles within their communities, using both their video cameras and their position in local government to help socially excluded communities to raise their voices and claim the entitlements that are rightfully theirs.

Community Correspondent Rajiv Parteti uses his new-found skills shed light on issues that affect his local community in Madhya Pradesh.Community Correspondent Rajiv Parteti uses his new-found video skills to shed light on issues that affect his local community in Madhya Pradesh.

About Video Volunteers

Video Volunteers is an international community media organisation that equips women and men in underdeveloped regions with video journalism skills, enabling entire communities to expose underreported stories from their communities and take action to right the wrongs of poverty, injustice and inequality.

 


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