CapturingDevelopment is using visuals (photographs and videos) in two ways:
1.Visuals as a tool for monitoring and evaluating change & development: Internal horizontal and vertical learning.
2.Visuals as a tool to show results and lessons learned to others : External learning, to let others learn from experiences, successes and failures.
1. Visuals as tool for monitoring and evaluating change: Internal learning The visual tools as mentioned beneath can be used through handing over the camera to the stakeholders or by keeping the camera in hands of the facilitator/ video maker/photographer. Sometimes it helps if a relative outsider is asking the questions/ filming; sometimes people say more when only insiders are involved.
a. General M&E At organisational and institutional level: Through intervals of time, short registrations are made of and with key stakeholders (including staff of the organisation, project staff, management), capturing their opinions, ways of working, attitude towards interventions etc. These captures are, after an interval of time- used in a regular review session to provoke discussions among stakeholders and let them realize how they have changed/ not changed, with other words reflect on change and results.
These lessons learned will be captured as well. At the end of the intervention, a compilation of main changes will be made and validated by the stakeholders.
At the level of end-user groups: If the organisation is directly working with citizens/ target groups, regular registrations of changes with regard to the end-users are made as well, and once again used to provoke discussion, reflect on the changes.
The captures of changes at organisational/ institutional level and of the citizens are shown to both groups and used for cross-fertilisation, and discussion.
b. Specific M&E: Learning histories and Most significant change methods Visuals can also be used in specific M&E methods as Learning Histories and the Most Significant Change method if anonymity is not an issue. Through these methods, one is not really following the project/ organisation and a baseline is not made, but [with regular intervals] one looks back upon past changes, and through video shots done by various people changes and lessons learned can be discussed and reflected upon. See the tab Examples for two examples of Visual MSC.
2. Visuals for sharing and showing results: External learning At the end of an intervention or post-intervention, a last round of captures is made, and validated by both groups if applicable and a result video or slide show/sheet is produced that can be used to show results and lessons learned (positive and negative) to other parts within the organisation, other organisations, other end-users.
Sustainable development can be shown for what it is, a non-linear and transformational process; learning processes, steps for- and backwards, and changes in the lives of people and the environment can be made explicit and understood.
Also for evaluations visuals can be used. Many a times, local people and end users do not have the opportunity to read the evaluation document itself, with other words they do not have the opportunity to validate the document and its conclusions unless a final discussion is held. By using visuals that accompany the document, the main findings and conclusions can be presented and validated by a larger group of people, including end-users. These visuals at their turn can also be used -once again- to show the results to the ‘outside’ world. For evaluations I have developed, together with Dominique Darmon, a Canadian producer, e-Valuation. (Click on this link for more information).