Video volunteers - empowering the voices of the world’s unheard communities


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Presentation given by Video Volunteers ( at CSR Pune and Net Impact networking event (2011) to enable CSR leaders and professionals to learn, network and contribute to social organization.

You can watch the video at

Representative - Naomi Hatfield Allen

Video Volunteers is an international media organization empowering the voices of the world's unheard communities. It's mission is to empower the world's poorest citizens to right the wrongs they witness by becoming players in the the global media revolution.

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Video volunteers - empowering the voices of the world’s unheard communities

  1. 1. VIDEO VOLUNTEERSEMPOWERING COMMUNITIES TO VOICE<br />‘The TV reporters never come to the slums. We are the only local reporters here.’ <br />Zulekha, Community Producer<br />
  2. 2. About Us<br /><ul><li>Video Volunteers was founded in 2003 by Jessica Mayberry with Stalin K as its managing director.
  3. 3. Our office is in Goa and we work in 25states in India
  4. 4. We have a team of 12 working in the Goa office and have trained over 300 people from slums and villages across India to use media technologies.
  5. 5. We have two key programs – Community Video Units and IndiaUnheard, plus a number of exciting projects.</li></ul>Sophiya, a producer in Ahmedabad, interviews her neighbour<br />
  6. 6. Our Work<br />Community producers make videos that are shown on projectors in villages, online and on broadcast TV. <br />In 300 slums and villages across India, people gather regularly in public spaces to watch news and inspirational documentaries produced by their neighbors.<br />They discuss solutions to problems ranging from infrastructure to child marriage, demonstrating that communities empowered with creative critical thinking skills will solve endemic problems.<br />Critically, we are developing a sustainable business model to ensure this network of community producers is financially viable. <br />In Gujarat, Noor takes a break from shooting<br />‘Video Volunteers has created a movement based on the idea that the poor in India have a right to voice and express themselves creatively’ <br />Abhay Deol, Indian cinema actor and Video Volunteers Ambassador<br />
  7. 7. Creating Impact<br />We measure impact at three levels<br /><ul><li> First, there is a personal journey of economic and social empowerment experienced by each of our community producers.
  8. 8. Second, there is impact at a community level - thousands of community screenings develop platforms for constructive discussion, mobilization and awareness building.
  9. 9. Third, there is an impact on the media landscape as we work to invert the current power dynamics and amplify unheard voices at a national and international level.</li></ul>‘People come to us and ask us to bring the camera to shoot various things and show it to the government. So it is true that we are becoming the voice of our community’ <br />Tarun, Community Producer<br />
  10. 10. Community Impact<br />‘Because of our films, every house now has a toilet. When we go into our community, people say, “your film has come in, and the filth has gone out”’<br />Sofiya, Community Producer<br />‘Thanks to one of my videos, a Dalit girl, who was gang raped, finally had her police report filed by the police’ <br />Jai Kumar, Community Producer<br />‘The first time we went to the village, people were shy to speak. But now when we visit they all want to speak!’<br />Rajee, Community Producer<br />Mukesh Rajak, a young Dalit producer from Jharkhand<br />
  11. 11. Impact on the Mainstream Media<br />Functioning as a community news network, a kind of grassroots Reuters or Associated Press, community producers earn income and the films made by communities are sold to news stations. <br />The mainstream media is powerful and is the lens through which we see the world. So therefore, if we want to change the way people think we must change the way the media operates. <br />‘Founded in 2003, well before hyperlocal news became a buzzword as the pillars of traditional media crumbled, Video Volunteers took aim at the widening gap between rich and poor caused by technology…’ Fast Company Magazine<br />
  12. 12. Get Involved<br />We need:<br />Volunteers to help us double our viewing figures online in the next 6 months.<br />Volunteers from a tech background to work on integrating mobile phones into our work<br />Volunteers from finance and management backgrounds to help us further develop our sustainable business models. <br />Connections with corporate social responsibility departments at tech companies - especially those manufacturing audio/video equipment and mobile phones<br />Connections with the mainstream press in India and internationally<br />Connections with corporate volunteer programs - volunteers are always needed to support our producers - develop story ideas, follow up on impact etc. <br />Volunteers to watch our videos, comment on them and post them on facebook/blogs etc.<br />
  13. 13. Q: What is a camera?<br />A: <br />It’s the eyes - Parul<br />It’s the mouth - Noor<br />The camera is more powerful than a wedding - Sneha<br /><br />A UNDP NGO of Excellence<br />