Training in visual documentation techniques.
A few months ago I trained staff of three district farmers associations (Hodfa, Madfa Mbabadifa) , three partners of Trias Uganda, in visual documentation techniques.
Over the years the three district farmers associations implemented a range of gender projects to ensure that women, men and youth equally benefit from their general programmes on food-and income security, and on value chains. And indeed, the associations seemed to be quite successful in their endeavour to mainstream gender -as reported by different experts visiting the districts- but none of the farmers associations really kept systematic track of these results. With years of experience, the need was felt to review and discuss the status and results of gender mainstreaming, and to determine the way forward.
At the same time the farmers associations felt the need to go off the beaten track and to show their results instead of writing up a study. Through an earlier evaluation two of the farmers associations had seen the power of video for facilitating discussions, and so they decided they wanted to document their gender results through videos, themselves. And so it happened.
This meant that staff needed to be trained in video documentation; especially in documenting results of gender mainstreaming. I developed a comprehensive training, including camera and editing techniques and skills, and -more important- social research techniques, interviewing and story telling, triangulation and validation, and training in understanding and recognising gender impact.
Especially this last issue ‘recognising gender impact’ took an important place in the training: What does gender impact mean in the light of farmers associations and their programmes?
To move beyond capturing of mere singular testimonies, I introduced the gender@work framework that includes changes in gender awareness, access and control over resources, services and decision-making of women, men and youth, and changes at institutional and community level (laws, regulations, policies and norms, values and practices) that enable gender changes to happen.
The results of three weeks training were absolutely amazing, and certainly not without challenges! In the end all three farmers’ associations had rather strong videos on gender impact, featuring specific women and men. The changes in awareness and the changes of norms, values and practices at community level
are very well visible. As Benon, one of the interviewee tells: ‘Only 15 years ago, women were not supposed to join our meetings, and if they did, they were supposed to keep their mouth shut. And look at us now, we even have women leaders that lead our groups.’ Showing access to services like extension and credit, and to resources like land and seed were visible in the videos as well. However, having control over resources and services was still kind of absent: For example ownership of land and decision making about money is still mainly in the hands of men.
Recently, the videos were published by Trias Uganda. And to be honest, I am really really proud of my students and how they were able to capture gender impact after a training of three weeks only.