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Documenting Indigenous Knowledge Through Participatory Video in Cusco, Peru


Aug 09 2013, Peru [PE], Education, Projects, Water and Climate Resilience

The use of multimedia tools to facilitate broader community participation is enabling some of the more marginalised communities in Peru to share more engaging and relevant local knowledge among their people. “Participatory video is a methodology to reach the deepest emotional action triggers of people”, said Peruvian film-maker and Andean activist Rodrigo Otero.

During a workshop organised by IICD in Cusco, facilitated by Otero who is also an expert on participatory video processes, participants and local organisations agreed that video is a communication technology appropriate for their intervention areas due to its effective way of collecting and transmitting indigenous knowledge, culture and traditions of their communities. 

“Participatory video making is related to various experiences in different places worldwide that privilege the role of communities both in the production and diffusion of videos in today’s modern society”, said Otero.

participatory video workshop - hands-on trainingIntercultural education: practising Quechua in classrooms

Since 2011, IICD supports the efforts of civil society organisations to integrate ICT in Education through the Connect4Change programme in Peru. Six organisations are currently involved in the implementation of intercultural bilingual education (Educación Intercultural Bilingüe - EIB in Spanish), a nation-wide experimental plan aiming at a more balanced and contextualized education across several Peruvian regions such as Cusco, Huancavelica, Apurímac, Junín and Ayacucho. 

 A major aspect of EIB is to bring culturally relevant and bilingual education to the classroom by using Spanish and Quechua. Quechua is the mother tongue of 13.2%1 of Peruvians and the language that is widely spoken by some of the most excluded communities in the rural areas where the six Connect4Change-supported organisations intervene. Other aspects of EIB include linking the Andean culture to modern educational practices, for example reintroducing traditional Quechua songs into teachers´ pedagogical methods in the classroom.

participatory video workshopThe participatory video workshop: ‘show and tell’

During the three-day workshop in May, a group of 20 participants, from technical staff of the six organisations to teachers working in poor communities, explored the basics of participatory video making in a very practical and hands-on training. The first day was dedicated to introduce participants to filming techniques such as “in front of and behind the camera”, “seeking the beauty” or “show and tell” with practical exercises. On the second day, participants learned to write a storyboard using the techniques from day one and shot a 10-minute outdoors interview. The workshop concluded with a round of deliberations regarding the suitability of participatory video methodologies to convey EIB values in the school.

 “In the Andean culture, water is much more than H2O”, said a participant after watching a video filmed by a rural community describing their own water rituals, “water is a living being that needs to be respected and nurtured.” Another participant highlighted the complexity of using such videos in the classroom while avoiding conflict with the current modern education. During an open discussion, participants agreed that teachers should be able to find the creativity to use such video materials in the classroom, in such a way that the Andean culture and tradition can coexist with modern education.

Through the Connect4Change programme, IICD will continue to support the six Peruvian organisations’ work with more capacity building activities until 2015.  Besides Peru, IICD’s programmes reach out to other indigenous communities through a number of projects in various sectors, such as health, education, economic development and water and climate resilience in different regions, from Sub-Saharan Africa to Latin America. 

In Bolivia for instance, our work aims at empowering women from indigenous communities by providing ICT-based training through projects such as TIC Bolivia and Casa de la Mujer.

To learn more about our work with indigenous communities in Latin America and Africa go to:


1According to the 2007 census

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