I’ve just published a guest post about Video Volunteers, the organization in India that I’ve been helping with communications strategy.
Here’s an excerpt, or check out the full post on on Dutiee.com, a site about social enterprise.
When Video Volunteers Community Correspondent Mukesh Rajak witnessed gross medical negligence resulting in a stillborn child, he quickly put his media experience to work. Using his laptop and a screening kit from the Video Volunteers Jharkhand office in India, he set out to share this story and motivate the community to take action. Over a thousand people watched Mukesh’s videos and were inspired to take action against the poor state of local health care. They actively followed up with Mukesh and created public awareness which resulted in large public demonstrations against the local government last month.
This is just one of many examples where Video Volunteers is making a big difference in marginalised communities of India through the power of community journalism. They train people from the slums, villages and tribal areas to produce high quality video content that brings awareness to communities and empowers them to take action. In the past year alone, they’ve had 73 impacts– where the issues that were brought to light by the videos have been resolved. Some of the video reports are heartbreaking and will inspire you to do something, their stories span everything from corruption, acid attacks on women, child rights, medical negligence to domestic violence.
Last week I attended Newsweek and The Daily Beast’s Women in the World event. There were quite a few panels about India and Pakistan, and a lot of talk generally about women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)–all topics close to my heart. I was particularly touched by “Divya,” the Delhi rape victim whose trial awaits hearing in the High Court, and two of Malala’s peers who are fighting with equal courage for girls education in Pakistan (pictured above).
Other United Nations videos on the theme of gender and peacekeeping in previous years mostly took an interview format, so this was an opportunity to try something different. After discovering that a colleague had a previous career in filmmaking, we teamed up with our graphic designer and set out in a new direction.
Digital media tends to be looked at as less useful to peacekeeping missions that are charged with communicating their mandates to local populations with very limited Internet access. However, there is global political, public and media interest in peacekeeping and we need to be able to share our work in the field with those who follow it from overseas. We hope that with videos like this one, we could channel the power of this medium.
One of my first big projects while at UN Peacekeeping was the 2012 Year in Review digital campaign, which consisted mostly of creating and promoting the above timeline (click the image or here to see the real thing). Please scroll through and have a look at the many activities of 2012 where UN Peacekeeping contributed to stabilizing countries after conflict.
It’s hard to believe I’ve been back in the US for a year and a half already! I’m starting to feel like a real New Yorker, for better or worse. I’ve recently started working as a digital media coordinator at UN Peacekeeping, and before that had a stint at UNICEF. I’m also still involved with communications projects in India, and one in Haiti. I’m always looking for new ones, so if you have one in mind, please let me know. In addition to my blog, I’ve begun a creative nonfiction writing project and I’m hoping for continued progress with it.
I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank those of you who were there to answer questions or provide support during this past year. It was greatly appreciated!
Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog & find out more about me! I am a seeker of personal and social transformation. After studying at Wesleyan and the London School of Economics, I went to India to live with my husband, and to work in the development sector. Now I'm in New York! Contact me: beckyblab at gmail dot com; on twitter@bexband. Click for more...