Connecting communication: using video to open spaces and mediate exchange between Kenyan grass-roots activists

Published on 1 January 2017

Bunge La Mwananchi (BLM) is a Kenyan grass-roots social movement that creates space for unrepresented people from the poorest backgrounds to raise and debate issues, and to amplify their social struggles. In 2015, BLM members carried out action research to find out how the movement sustains its power against co-option and division. A key finding was the importance of reaching across differences of ethnicity, gender, class and geography to increase BLM’s influence.

Following this, in 2016, long-standing BLM organisers and new members took part in a short accompanied participatory video project. This aimed to communicate the action research findings to the wider movement, and initiate further discussion of the implications. It also sought to raise awareness of the potential of using video recording and playback to open communication spaces between different BLM constituencies.

As the Bunge movement is a verbal movement, video was considered an appropriate medium. However, there can be challenges in applying it effectively in practice, particularly in resource- and time-limited contexts. This research reflects on the experience of adapting and scaling down elements of the participatory video approach during the Bunge video project, to be resource- and cost-effective and less time-intensive. Lessons are drawn on how video processes can be applied creatively and accessibly to mediate exchange in similar contexts in the future.


Jackie Shaw

Research Fellow

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Shaw, J.