The Asian Coalition for Housing Rights has had great success with community-to-community exchange programmes across Asia. Video supplements this process and allows more communities to actually 'see' what's happening with other poor communities in Asia. Groups have found this type of documentation and presentation easier and more productive than writing reports, particularly for confidence building. This story tells about the use of video for urban poor solutions in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In December 1999 and January 2000, the largest slum community was facing eviction threats from government under pressure to redevelop the land. While having support from the local Municipality for land-sharing alternatives, they needed to influence government at a higher level as the Municipality had little control - the plans for eviction were directed from above, by people in national government. A short 10-minute video was made of the work ACHR was doing involving partnerships with government organisations and slum communities, offering an alternative process to forced evictions. The message was conveyed to the Prime Minister via video, whose response was very positive. The author concludes by reflecting on the potential for using video in even more participatory ways.
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International Institute for Environment and Development