West Africa's transition zone is one of the world's most ecologically fragile areas and is widely assumed to be experiencing a deforestation crisis. For a century experts have held villagers responsible. But recent research in Guinea shows the exact oppposite. Instead of disappearing, forest cover has in fact been increasing - due to farmers's skill in transforming savanna into forest. This video explains how the research team's anthropological research combined with oral histories, archives and aerial and satellite images to produce these findings. It gives voice to villagers and shows how easily experts can reach wrong conclusions if they ignore local knowledge and history.
Mudzi wa chitimbe ulankhula (Chitimbe village speaking): Village people represent their views about natural resources.
Kulila kwa Chiling'oma (Chiling'oma village cries): Village people represent their views about natural resources.
What is democracy? Freedom, equality, participation? Everyone has his or her own definition. Across the world countries have a least the minimum trappings of democracy, but for many this is just the beginning. Following decades of US-backed dictatorships, civil wars and structural adjustment policies in the South, and corporate control, electoral corruption and fraud in the North, representative politics in the Americas is in crisis. Citizens are now choosing to redefine democracy under their own terms: local, direct and participatory. In Brazil, they have installed participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre, in Venezuela President Chavez came to power with the promise of granting direct participation to the people, and all across the Americas social movements and constitutional assemblies are taking authority away from the ruling elites and putting power into the hands of their members and citizens. This DVD features interviews with Eduardo Galeano, Amy Goodman, Emir Sader, Martha Harnecker, Ward Churchill and Leonardo Avritzer as well as cooperative and community members, elected representatives, academics and activists from Brazil, Canada, Venezuela, Argentina, United States, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia and more. It takes us on a journey across the Americas in an attempt to answer the question "What is Democracy?"
This short video shows the use of participatory mapping and action planning processes in discussions about the management of the Solway Firth, Scotland. People with various interests participated in the meetings. Groups mapped the area and suggested ideas for changes. These were then scored and discussed, leading to the creation of action plans with achievable aims. The video also presents reflections by workshop participants on the participatory appraisal process. Among the comments are that it facilitated the focusing of ideas, working together, and helped overcome mistrust between the users of the Solway and other groups.
Debates about genetically modified (GM) corps in India have largely centered on their benefits, as espoused by scientists, transnational corporations and the government, excluding the farmers who grow the crops. This video documents the process by which Karnataka farmers held a citizen's jury over 5 days, to assess potential advantages and disadvantages of GM crops. The jury comprised eight female and six male farmers, and was held in the village of Bommagondakare. The jury questioned witnesses from biotechnology companies, national government, NGOs and farmers' groups. Farmers were open to the advantages but questioned applications of 'expert' scientific knowledge in local contexts. They saw the dangers of less accountability from the private profit-making corporations developing the technology. Farmers stressed their knowledge, and seed saving and breeding techniques. They were concerned that GM seeds would leave them powerless. Women in particular, who have the final say in the choice of seed and how it is sown, may be marginalised. The poorest farmers were concerned that GM crops could threaten food security. As part of the verdict, farmers were asked to vote on the question of whether they would grow GM crops. Nine farmers said 'no', four said 'yes', and one was not sure. Most of the jury wanted a moratorium on GM crops until extensive field trials, which involved farmers, were carried out for 5-10 years. The jury made detailed recommendations about what would be required to increase their confidence in GM seeds. Their main priority was that traditional varieties known to be reliable are conserved. Action Aid, in facilitating the citizen's jury, focused on the need for poor people to have a voice in decision-making on matters that affect their lives. The citizens' jury on GM crops is one such example. Given the right information, farmers can make sophisticated judgements. Their voices should be at the forefront of the GM debate and in the decision-making process on how the technology is taken forward.
This video accompanies the handbook " Teach Yourself Citizens Juries". It comprises two films: one about jurors from Lancashire, UK, talking about their citizens juries on youth, alcohol and illegal drugs; the other is a record of a citizens jury organised by older people in Tyneside exploring the challenges facing those who suffer falls and looking at potential policy changes. The video also covers: choosing a subject, setting the question for the jury, recruiting jurors, jury members questionin the witnesses, and maximising results.
Participation: sharing our resources: resource CD-ROM on participatory approaches, methods and tools
This resource CD features a field tools database of 135 participatory approaches, methods and field tools developed or applied by FAO and other organisations. It also contains a selection of 215 FAO documents in English, French and/or Spanish, which have been extracted from their Participation WebsiteÆs annotated library database and sorted according to a set of different category lists. The publications are available as full-text documents either in PDF, HTML or Microsoft Word format. The CD works in a web format and includes participatory tools and literature on micro (grassroots/community), meso (district/province), and macro (national/international) levels.