This week from 14th to 18th August, VTT held a successful workshop in Bellona on women’s participation in politics. The workshop was held in Tatiana Lodge and was run in partnership with Matangi Women’s Association.
The project is under SIEC’s Strengthening Electoral Cycle in SI Programme, funded by UNDP and implemented by Village Technology Trust.
The workshop is the beginning of a communications project designed to promote women’s participation in politics. The 18 participants first explored the social and subjective bounds to women’s participation in decision making in Bellona. Video footage taken previously of all the spaces around the island where women may be making decisions was viewed and discussed. The participants then engaged in group work to analyse the issue further. Finally, a secret ballot was held, capturing individual explanations of why women cannot make decisions in certain places or scenarios. The results, aggregated into common themes, were then compared with the outputs from the group discussions.
On the second day we inquired into storytelling as a medium with which such beliefs are maintained or may be challenged, and listened to two examples of very interesting original stories volunteered by members of the group. Participants learned the structure of stories, and analysed the two stories in terms of theme, messages and plot.
The workshop then went on to introduce participatory video making as a way of telling stories for social change, and the group learned some practical skills in designing effective video stories. The participants gained some confidence with the camera equipment through some games, and watched a selection of short videos with different formats that communicate messages and promote change. As we watched the videos, which featured both the Solomons and further afield, we observed the various strategies used by the film makers.
In the following days the participants learned how to design simple projects using templates such as a shooting script and a storyboard and came up with some ideas for short film productions. The production work will now take place over several weeks supported by local facilitators, technical assistance from a resident Bellonese film maker and mentoring visits by VTT. Once completed with editing assistance from VTT, the films will be shared at a community screening in Bellona with facilitated public discussion, and online.
The outcomes of the project will not only be the material video films, but the process itself, being very participatory, should also promote change.
VTT congratulates the participants on their amazing positive response, and especially the Matangi women (and men) who took part. VTT hopes that this workshop will be the start of a very interesting journey that will lead to more discussion and opening of space for women, as well as capacity built for MWA who will be able to use both their change making and media skills in future beneficial ways for the Bellonese community.
VTT thanks SEIC and UNDP, and to Melinda Kii for expert facilitation, Anouk Ride and Kiu Angiki for their expert inputs and Hon Brad Pugeva for his support.
August 19th 2017.