Sean Mendonca

Sean Mendonca

Independent
Guyana

Looking Ahead: engaging the policy makers

Community engagement has been going well and the team is working toward fine-tuning the first set of Community Videos that will be screened to decision-makers. As that time approaches, the team benefited from some more training.

June 5, 2018

The communities of the North Rupununi have captured their opinions through participatory video on issues related to traditional knowledge and protected areas. As the final videos are being compiled, we have begun to think about the process of engaging the policy makers. To do so, the local project team received some hands-on training and valuable tips from Cobra Collective team member Claudia Nuzzo.

Capacity building for local project staff is an important aspect of any Darwin Initiative funded project. As the project moves to engage more communities associated with other protected areas and finalize the first set of community videos, it was an optimum time to get some training to prepare for our first engagement with the policy makers.

Reports from the project team based at the North Rupunui District Development Board (NRDDB) indicate that communities have been doing a fine job in using their participatory video training to capture the views and opinions of their community members on the topic of focus for the project – traditional knowledge and its link to improving management of protected areas.

It will soon be time to have our first opportunity to screen these compiled videos to the relevant policy and decision makers. These videos are intended to foster a better appreciation and understanding of the views arising out of Indigenous communities. Their feedback is important and will need to be captured to be shared back with the communities. This dialogue through video is in essential the channel by which this project aims to bring about improved communication between the sometimes neglected views and opinions (which can be very valuable input) of Indigenous peoples into conservation planning and management of natural resources within protected areas.

Appropriately, the Cobra Collective – one of our international partners – secured the talents and skills of Claudia Nuzzo who visited Guyana to provide training with the team at the NRDDB on the video reviewing/compilation process, and with me in Georgetown on videoing decision makers. This was essentially a crash course in story-boarding, tips and tricks in capturing the best video considering lighting, different frames and always, ALWAYS remembering the audience that will be viewing the video being produced.

I definitely needed that training and look forward to putting these new skills into practice when we do our first round of screening in the month of June once the first set of community videos have been finalized. It is a amazing what can be done with the use of our basic equipment.

A big thank you to Claudia for sharing her knowledge and passion ‘for camera, lights, actions!’. She promises to return – if not for the project, just for the coconut water. There is always time for a break to drink some coconut water says Claudia.

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