Many farmers in Uganda receive important agricultural information in a one-way sharing process, from government agricultural extension officers directly to the farmer. This method does not allow farmers to share their own experience and opinions or to be part of the knowledge building process.
In an effort to bridge the gap between communities and decision makers, Dr Grady Walker recently travelled to Mukono, Uganda, to train farmers in video production and the development of stories. They then used these films to communicate directly with the Mukono District government. This Visual Research Methods (VRM) is part of the HyCRISTAL project, and was carried out in conjunction with Climate Action Uganda (CAN-U) with support from Practical Action.
Participants shooting a film at a local farm
During the trip, two film stories which addressed key regional agronomic and aquaculture issues affecting the farmers were developed, and 8 farmers from the district were trained in basic filmmaking.
Farmers were keen to learn, document and tell their advocacy stories through video and share them with fellow farmers and duty bearers.
At a meeting between the district farmer groups and the technical and leadership teams of the Mukono District, farmers shared their stories and how they are adapting to climate change. Together with government representatives, they decided on forward-looking suggestions to what their leaders can do to improve planning and service delivery to communities in the face of climate change.
Practice interview of farmer and extension worker with Miriam Talwisa
Mr Wali Christopher, one of the farmer champions, was happy with the simplicity of the training and said, "Now I know one or two pictures can tell and deliver the intended message the way you want it".
It is methods and techniques, like producing video stories, that engage communities and farmers in investigating their own contexts, whilst linking them up with the key people in decision-making positions for more targeted advocacy messaging and vertical communication.
Check out an article Future Climate for Africa wrote about Visual Research Methods ahead of the fieldwork