Digital Bridges

  terry gibson

This project, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) was designed to research and test the idea that training centres in the developing world could use video themselves to extend the reach of their training. In addition to this the possibility of them sharing resources they had created was investigated.  Five Vocational Training centres in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya participated.

Both the successes and the failures of the project yielded interesting insights. The successes were the fact that three of the five groups not only developed skills in creating video based materials (including one in the remote Soroti district of Uganda currently featured in the Guardian newspaper's 'Katine' project) but continued to work and collaborate after the funding period finished. However a 'failure' was that the groups, to varying extents, diverted project resources to other concerns (such as creation of promotional videos about their organisations). This highlighted the active role of 'participants' and the fact that unless there is a genuine sharing of goals people are skillful at diverting effort to the goals that really concern them. This issue has become a major part of my thinking about how communities achieve effective change. The other 'failure' was that the goal of sharing materials was not achieved. This reflected a much more basic technical issue which was that connectivity during the project period was very poor. More recently the emergence of social networking sites such as 'youtube' reflect what we wanted to achieve but couldn't. In fact connectivity is still an issue (sharing of videos via the internet would still be nearly impossible in Ethiopia for example). This point emphasises the importance of using realistic communications technologies.

The full project report is available on the resources page

change communication
what i do
my background
case studies
resources and links