As we celebrate three years of some very challenging and fulfilling work in Bihar, we thought it was time to start exploring ways to strengthen our partnership with our partner, Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society (BRLPS) locally known as JEEViKA by increasing the involvement of JEEViKA’s staff in implementation of our model of behavioral change communication.
For this purpose on the 13th of July 2015, we organized an orientation programme for the District Communication Managers of 26 districts that we work in, on our approach, current status of project and goals ahead. This was in line with the project goals envisaged by Digital Green and JEEViKA, which seeks to ensure greater involvement of JEEViKA staff and to have an in-house team to improve the quality of videos, make them more interesting and attract more viewers, creating better possibilities for adoptions.
At present, Livelihood Managers of JEEViKA support DG’s intervention as anchors for their respective districts. They play a crucial role – approving the storyboards and videos after looking into content and processes since most of the videos in Bihar have been about agricultural practices. However, Livelihood Managers have limited knowledge about the quality of videos.
We started the day-long orientation by explaining the DG approach and the evolution of our partnership with JEEViKA in Bihar. We then shared the current status of videos produced, dissemination among community members and adoptions along with the goals to be achieved by end of 2015.
The Communication Managers of JEEViKA also shared their current roles and responsibilities with our team, which followed an interesting dialogue about the possibilities they saw of contributing towards the DG and JEEViKA partnership model.
During the course of the orientation, we screened four videos on different aspects such as Digital Green’s story and approach, equipment handling (Pico Seekho) and agricultural practices during the meeting. The participants appreciated the videos and were very surprised to learn that the videos on agricultural practices were shot by a video production team comprising of Village Resource Persons (members of the community trained by DG as additional resources for an agricultural extension using our model). Most of the participants had earlier had the impression that the DG team shoots all the videos. This meeting provided us with an opportunity to dispel myths like this and reinforce the principle of community participation which is central to our model.
Towards the close of day, the participants were quite involved in the discussions and shared their observations and feedback to improve the videos. The communication team of JEEViKA assured their support to DG’s community-led video production process on various aspects such as quality improvement during storyboard preparation, selecting a better sequence of shots, angles and frames. They have also suggested possibilities to include voice over and annotation and text slides and selection of good actors to dramatize and make the videos more interesting. The participants also expressed their eagerness to visit the field to observe live dissemination so that they can help mediators improve their communication and facilitation skills. By the end of the orientation programme, JEEViKA’s communication staff were also keen to record and showcase the progress made by the use of the DG approach in their work.
Observing the interest and enthusiasm among the participants we may assume safely that the coming years are going to see a new facet of our partnership that will give a huge boost to community participation and engagement within our projects in Bihar.