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Excerpt: Video for Change practitioners share lessons on COVID-19 challenges

Fifteen young people from Maaji settlement in Adjumani underwent basic videography training, where they learned to be more comfortable using video equipment. Photo from Refugee Law Project, used with permission.

When the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world in early 2020, video for change practitioners had to adapt and find creative ways to continue producing videos that impact communities in positive ways.

EngageMedia, along with the members of the Video4Change Network, held an online learning session in February to discuss the challenges they encountered and the lessons learned from over a year of working under a global pandemic. Amid problems in shifting to remote work and online convenings, Network members were able to advance their advocacy while strengthening relationships with their networks.

For its part, EngageMedia, which has been working remotely for over a decade, shared how the team found inspiration in other organisations and learned new ways of conducting remote production using open-source tools and software. Meanwhile, the Refugee Law Project discussed how they supported young people in producing podcasts to express themselves and find comfort in community. For the Sunflower Film Organization, which transitioned their training and production sessions online, one key lesson they learned was the importance of belonging to a network and engaging in collaborations.

The learning session provided a valuable opportunity for Network members to share knowledge and resources to support their work of using video for social change. As Network members discussed their experiences, there was a prevailing sense of camaraderie in knowing that each organisation was not alone in these trying times. Claudia Modonesi, co-director of Picture People, summed up these sentiments by referring to the sense of purpose that drives each organisation:

“COVID also brought to light what valuable work means to us as a charity – not only to provide educational support and opportunities to people who have suffered the most from the educational void in this difficult time, but also to give a sense of purpose and belonging to our global network of alumni”.

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