An intensive resilience policy-making process is currently underway in Nepal, a country with a recent history of conflict and disaster that also faces future risks resulting from environmental change. This ground-breaking project will utilise a participatory video (PV) approach to create new and potentially challenging interventions in that process, whilst simultaneously developing methods and approaches that could have broader applicability.
Using PV - an innovative methodology that has successfully achieved policy impact elsewhere - we seek to address the gap that exists in Nepal between national-level resilience policy-making (undertaken with the support of international donors and experts) and community-level perceptions and expectations. In so doing, the project will seek to give those most-affected by the overlapping challenges of poverty, conflict and environmental change a powerful way to engage with - and potentially influence - high-level policymakers.
In particular the project will examine:
- What are the study communities' own perceptions of the threats they face? Are these reflected in the views and perceptions of policymakers?
- How have the study communities faced previous challenges to their wellbeing? What adaptation strategies have they employed and what can be learned?
- What are the perceived/identified roles of government (national and local) vis a vis building community resilience? How effectively is government seen to be fulfilling those roles?
Working in three communities alongside a well-established development NGO, small groups of residents will produce short films capturing their experiences and perceptions of risk and resilience that will then be shared and discussed with key audiences at the village, District and national levels. The overall aim is to facilitate and improve the sensitization of policymakers to community-level perceptions, thereby potentially opening up new policy directions, ideas and opportunities.
It is intended that the beneficiaries of the project will include:
- The study communities (opportunities to engage with policy audiences, have their voices heard and receive feedback; opportunities to engage with counterparts in other study communities; skills development though participation in the Participatory Video (PV) process and the co-production of knowledge via defining and answering their own research questions).
- Policy audiences at local, District and national levels (new ideas and input into policy development; insights into community-level perceptions of risk and of current government activities).
- Wider policy audiences (new insights on the 'gap' between top-down resilience policymaking and the perceptions and understandings of local communities; new evidence on the potential of PV as an approach to giving voice to the poor in policy processes).
- Academic audiences (see 'Academic beneficiaries').
We will engage with these audiences in a variety of ways (see also 'Pathways to impact'):
- The videos produced by participants in the project. These will be shown to participants' own communities, to representatives from the other study communities, and to policy audiences at the District-level and in Kathmandu.
- A short edited compilation of the three videos to be made available via YouTube and the project website as a research, advocacy and teaching resource.
- Events at village-, District- and national-level at which the videos will be shown along with discussions of the issues and themes arising and feedback from the policy workshops, in all cases where possible including community participants themselves.
- Interviews/Focus Group Discussions at all levels during which issues arising from the films will be further discussed, and views sought on the value of the PV approach.
- Academic outputs, to include at least three articles in highly-ranked journals, at least one of which will be lead authored by Nepali team members.