Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Potential for Community Video in Sri Lanka

Community media can be described as potent tool of horizontal communication to gather and share information. Community video, which is also known as participatory video, is an advanced mode of community communication with added advantage of audio-visual impact. As a participatory tool of communication, Community Video has a great role in social change. The model of Communication for Social Change describes an interactive process where “community dialogue” and “collective action” work together to produce social change in a community that improves the health and welfare of all of its members (Figueroa, Kincaid, Rani, & Lewis, 2002, p. iii). The practitioners of Community Video argue with its impact and hence, creating community dialogue is an essential criterion with a collective action.
     Although Sri Lanka is pioneer in community broadcasting in the South Asian region since 1979, but due to several reasons it could not be a successful mode of communication. In the recent past, in association with the Ministry of Mass Media, Government of Sri Lanka and Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA), Sri Lanka Development Journalists’ Forum (SDJF) organised a national consultation to find out a path to make community radio as a vibrant tool of communication for community’s own expression. Unfortunately, no major step has been taken by the government or civil society to revive the community radio movement in Sri Lanka.
     I feel very happy that a Community Video movement has been started in Sri Lanka as I came to know from the news release of SDJF.  In thinking of a possible and potential solution to the current status of CR in Sri Lanka, I proposed SDJF to start working on Community video. Though I realized an interest and willingness from Rasmin, he was also made a point that except in one occasion with SARU team did a project, no body has experience in Community Video. 

     When I shared the experience of digital green, video volunteers, and CAMP the work of UNESCO Chair team with children with SDJF team later towards the ends of my visit they were all impressed. Once I shared a research paper “Participatory Democratic Potentiality of Community Video in India”, written by me and Dr. Anamika Ray, Rasmin wanted to implement start similar works in Sri Lanka.
     To fit with the CEMCA’s mandate, we suggested if the model of Community Learning Programme (CLP) can be experimented with the tool of community video.  With this initiative, the idea was to use community video to provide quality learning opportunities among the members of the community. Mr. M C Rasmin and his team at SDJF finalised the concept note on the proposal. He is an enthusiast in development communication and a person who can translate ideas into reality and finally with a small assistance from CEMCA, SDJF agreed to initiate a community video movement in the country.
     I am really happy, although I am no longer associated with CEMCA as an officer, but this initiative has been started. The SDJF began a community video training programme in Kandy with the purpose of uplifting the capacity of 30 youth who are passionate about learning the use of community video in telling the stories of their own societies. The first three days of a 10-day training programme started on 19th December, 2015 at Kandy. The SDJF partnered with the Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture (PGIA) to conduct this training. I feel happy that the dream came into reality and the first phase of the training conducted by Vasuki Belawadi, Department of Communication, and University of Hyderabad provided a unique opportunity for the young video lovers to learn about the elements, usage, effectiveness and strategies of community video. The youth were trained in contextualizing the concept of community video, using diversity of the Sri Lankan society.
 Hope, the participants will get the opportunity to learn about Community Learning Programme (CLP) a model developed by COL and CEMCA in due course and would be able to produce community video programmes using the CLP model. I would like to conclude here with the notes of Prof. W.A. D. P. Wanigasundera, the chairperson of SDJF that Community video should not only be used to address the issues in the communities, other great potential like art, culture, heritage, traditional medicine, agro-systems, sports, etc. could be captured through community video as well. My congratulations to Rasmin and his group for this initiative in encouraging youths towards community media.

Cite this Article as-

Dutta, A. (2016, February 9). Potential for Community Video in Sri Lanka. Community Communications. https://www.comcomm.org/2016/02/potential-for-community-video-in-sri.html

Dutta, Ankuran. "Potential for Community Video in Sri Lanka." Community Communications, Dr Anamika Ray Memorial Trust, India, 9 Feb. 2016, www.comcomm.org/2016/02/potential-for-community-video-in-sri.html. Accessed 16 Mar. 2020.

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