Audiovisual platforms for indigenous & rural communities

15 August 2012 | Article

Following the IUCN World Conservation Congress at Barcelona, Dr. Dario Novellino - a CEESP member since 2008 - has been investing much efforts in facilitating the creation of audio-visual platforms for indigenous and rural communities to express their voices and, particularly, their own critiques of state policies, development and top-down conservation projects.

Opportunities for exchanges across borders (e.g. between Peruvian and Philippines’ Indigenous peoples see https://vimeo.com/11921008 and between Italian and Kirgiz pastoralists see https://vimeo.com/grassrootsvoices have developed and materialized also thanks to the support of the Christensen Fund (TCF) through a Grant to the Center for Biocultural Diversity (CBCD) of the University of Kent, where Dario is a Research Affiliate.

The audio-visual exchanges facilitated so far, promote the sharing of experiences as a way of 1) fostering reflection and joint actions through the establishment of strategic alliances; and 2) addressing common problems regarding indigenous links, rights and claims over ancestral homelands and cultural landscapes. The envisaged goal is to enable the production of jointly produced video materials that could be used to exert pressure at a national and international policy level.

Such exchanges, however, require the long-term commitment of facilitators who are either ‘video-practitioners’ belonging to a specific local community or people who have spent extended periods of time with one particular group, are trusted by them and are familiar with their languages and cultural practices.

Compared to global exchanges, regional-based exchanges have proven to be more sustainable in the long-term, and some indigenous communities, whose members have received, training from Dario, on participatory video techniques are now capable of making advocacy videos on their own.

This is the case of ALDAW (Ancestral Land/Domain Watch) and indigenous peoples’ advocacy network based in Palawan (the Philippines).

On the island of Palawan (Philippines), audio-visual exchanges initiated by Dario have been very useful in facilitating interaction between indigenous mining affected communities on current policies on mining, as well as on their respective strategies to counter mining corporations.

Video documentation was initiated amongst those communities who had already experienced the effects of mining. The recorded testimonials from such communities were shared with other communities who were still in the process of confronting mining companies, and were unsure about the way to approach these enterprises.

These videos are the outcomes of a collective effort for which Dario, ALDAW staff and local communities have worked on equal grounds to choose the topics to be filmed, doing the actual filming, and making choices during the editing process. The circulation of such videos has lead to a better awareness of mining issues at the community level, while making indigenous leaders and representatives more confident in expressing and articulating their thoughts to policy makers and government representatives. These grassroots initiated videos have also been useful in sustaining the ongoing campaign launched by the Save Palawan Movement (see http://no2mininginpalawan.com/) to stop mining in Palawan and in other fragile island-ecosystems. A new video, titled: Palawan: “Our Struggle for Nature and Culture” has just been launched by ALDAW.

See

https://vimeo.com/45208436
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA_3mE92RAE

We would like to take this opportunity to seek the support of all CEESP members in signing the online petition to stop the environmental plundering of Palawan, a UNESCO Man & Biosphere Reserve.