terry gibson

Capturing a community process in an interactive DVD

The ‘PILLARS’ process, supported by Tearfund, is a striking example of the power of facilitated and interactive learning at community level. The process, developed by Isabel Carter, uses simple workbooks to stimulate community exercises out of which people devise their own plans for action. It also promotes contextualising the materials into local settings and languages, and over 80 language versions have been created by the participants themselves.

Isabel wanted to involve more groups in the process, and had found that there was a resistance based on the fear that leaders would need particular skills and education. She felt that showing people ‘doing it’ on video would reassure other groups that they were capable of getting involved.

We set out to create a DVD resource. We spent a week in rural Ethiopia recording a typical workshop, and also gathered video and stills material from participants in a wide range of locations across Latin America, Africa and Asia. However we were confronted with the fact that the ‘script’ which was developed was over 40 minutes long. It was in effect a didactic ‘speech’ – rather at odds with the spirit of the PILLARS process! We resolved this contradiction by dividing the material into short units which could be accessed individually and which featured activity suggestions after each section. Along with a multiple language facility and with a range of .pdfs also included on the disc the package became a compact tool for interactive learning and discussion, and thousands of copies have been distributed internationally.

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