Participatory Video

A powerful transformative tool for personal and social change

What is participatory video?

A method of exploration and transformation

Participatory video is a set of creative and participatory techniques designed to involve a group of individuals in exploring their own history through the making of their own film. It uses video to enable individuals, groups and communities to explore issues that concern themselves while experimenting with other individual and social postures and thus stimulate a dynamic of change that emanates from within.

A tool for empowerment and social change

Participatory video can be very powerful because it creates an opportunity for participants, and for the entire community, to express themselves internally on needs and expectations that probably would not have been expressed, while allowing individuals to experience other postures within the group. Through the co-creation of a common purpose and capacity building using the video tool, individuals develop their self-confidence and their ability to express and share their views, regardless of their age, gender, situation or level of education.

Read about empowerment through participatory video from Plan International :
Niger: girls empowerment through participatory video

Video is a fun and accessible activity for everyone. Intentionally used, it becomes a powerful reflexive tool that reverses gaze and moves power relations through its tendency to flatten hierarchical relationships within the group. Participatory video thus stimulates individuals and groups and places them at the centre of a virtuous dynamic of change. It also provides materials that can be used to share their experiences with other communities or with decision-makers, for example.

It was at the very beginning of cinema, and even more so with the appearance of light 16mm cameras, that the self-reflexive and emancipatory virtues of the shared camera were tested. One of the milestones of participatory video is the experience of the eminent filmmaker and ethnologist Jean Rouch, a researcher at the CNRS, who, with the teenagers of the Abidjan high school in the early 1960s, created an experience of shared and improvised cinema. It was to give rise to the film “The Human Pyramid”, but above all to the reunion and overcoming of the racial problems specific to the time in Côte d’Ivoire.

“Cinema, through this experience, through this fiction of reality, has made it possible to create another reality in which these young people have been able to explore and express fundamental issues. The experience of sharing cinema made it possible in a few weeks to reconcile these young people and to do what years of life side by side in high school had not succeeded.” Jean Rouch

A powerful process for programme analysis, monitoring and evaluation that can inform communication, awareness-raising and advocacy

The participatory video process takes place in successive participatory workshops, structured around different interlocking phases in a loop that combine fun, cooperation and feedback to the community through community filming, projections, reflections, reflections, actions and debates that lead to a virtuous dynamic that promotes self-help in problem solving and change.


Led by group members and communities themselves, participatory video is a powerful process of qualitative monitoring and evaluation. The information and testimonies collected in video during the process, by their endogenous nature, constitute a view from within the communities’ feelings and ideal supports to feed transparent communication, awareness raising and advocacy for example.

“An intergenerational dialogue has been established within the community on the issue of early marriage. It was a step that had to be taken, something that we feared a little. We discovered that it was possible, thanks to participatory video.” Ramatou Kane, Chief of Program, Plan International Niger

Testimony of participants :

Read about participatory video
project in Niger from Plan International NGO :
Early marriage in Niger: Dune girls break the taboo

Participatory video project making-of :

The goal ?

The purpose of participatory video is to stimulate a dynamic of change that emanates from within. Through self-expression and self-exploration within a group or community, a movement of co-creation and co-production of a collective object stimulates personal or social change and causes an oil stain effect within the larger group.

Participatory video is a great tool that reveals individuals and groups to themselves. It helps to develop self-confidence and capacity building. Participatory video is also a valuable method for providing information for decision-making. It is useful for the evaluation of development programs, social science research, or any objective that requires a detailed knowledge of a particular issue, group or territory. Indeed, the endogenous nature of audiovisual materials collected during a participatory video process is a formidable resource for qualitative analysis. Treated through our expertise in social sciences, they make it possible to provide our partners, in addition to audiovisual media, with detailed qualitative analyses and reports.