Participatory Video for Narrative Change

Published: 12 September 2022
Last edited: 12 September 2022
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A participatory video (PV) is an important tool to empower and enhance storytelling from the ground up. It basically involves video documentation done by someone from the communities. In this day and age where the world is rapidly moving towards an era dominated by myriad digital content, a PV becomes relevant. In this case, the youth of today can play an important role as they take charge of documenting these local stories, which are often neglected by mainstream media. Indigenous youth are also empowered; trained in all phases of videography and take part in documentation, biodiversity management, storytelling, awareness, etc.

NESFAS, an NGO based in Meghalaya, India, has been implementing the PV programme since 2012 in collaboration with The Indigenous Partnership and involve community youth. In 2015, as part of the International Terra Madre event, more than 30 PVs were created from four regions of Meghalaya and Nagaland. The PVs cover diverse topics related to culture, agrobiodiversity, etc.


South Asia
Scale of implementation
Area-wide development
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Connectivity / transboundary conservation
Food security
Forest Management
Gender mainstreaming
Health and human wellbeing
Indigenous people
Local actors
Outreach & communications
Peace and human security
Sustainable livelihoods
Traditional knowledge
Other theme
Changes in socio-cultural context


Meghalaya, India


Participatory video (PV) will address the issue/s of:

  • Limited or no data/stories/information on local culture, biodiversity, knowledge, practices, foodways, etc.
  • Marginalised or No equal representation in media/news/films.
  • Narrative control: authorship, the portrayal of ground reality, real issues, best practices, testimonials, etc.
  • Youth employment and youth migration.



Community youths

Rural communities

How do the building blocks interact?

Video documentation of local knowledge is paramount for maintaining visibility to a wide audience. Through the participatory video (PV) programme, community youths can be trained to document their Traditional Knowledge and different issues relating to biodiversity. PV, in a way, aims to empower grassroots journalism among youth in the communities. 


The videos are produced in an extensively participatory manner, where community members have substantial influence on the nature and theme of the contents, thus, it brings about a feeling of ownership.


Some of the demonstrated positive impacts include:

  • Documentation of local stories which are often neglected by mainstream media: food festivals, agricultural practices, cultural diversity, local plants and most importantly, documenting people’s own stories.
  • Trained community youths who can document their Traditional Knowledge and different issues relating to food systems.
  • Livelihood opportunity through video documentation skills.
  • Documentation of stories which become an integral part for digital archive.

Contributed by

alethea.nesfas_41836's picture

Alethea Lyngdoh North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society

Other contributors

North East Slow Food & Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS)