Development Cooperation Handbook/The video resources linked to this handbook/The Documentary Story/Shooting starts
We had completed the “need assessment”, i.e. our search of what the opinion makers needed to know in order to communicate better to their public what is the scope and the challenge of international cooperation for development. In order to obtain the required information we prepared a list of questions to ask to policy experts, development actors and other stakeholder. We started interviewing them in written interviews. But in order to communicate effectively we needed to video recording of the interviews. We still did not have a standing cooperation agreement with the Italian television, or any other broadcaster. So we decided to start shooting by ourselves.
Kautilya Society was the Indian partner. It was the only one which was also physically present “in the field”, i.e. where international cooperation project were being carried out. In fact there was also SIA, the Syrian partner, also had the capability. But that was not an easy partner to work with at a distance: a Syrian public institution! Hopefully once in Syria we could put them on board; surely not with e-mail instructions! But with Kautilya Society it was different. They were close friends. The Kautilya team was formed by young inexperienced professionals; but sincere and motivated. OK, we start with them! I sent the instruction. And the budget. Hoping for the best.
The young team of Kautilya started working. And they did with the kind of determination that the "professionals" were not yet displaying. They met with the Europe Aid representative in Delhi, who was cooperative and they worked out an interview plan. She suggested to cover the "Millennium Village " a rural development project in Jharkhand, financed by EU, dealing directly with the forst MDG; a project managed by Welthungerhilfe (God, why always the Germans are the good managers!). The Kautilya team went there and did a good job. They interviewed the development actors and the beneficiaries. They got the images of the work in progress, especially of meeting with the community.
I asked the team to make a preliminary clean up and start uploading the full interviews in original on YouTube. "Just make a video for each question and then make a playlist for each person interviewed that will have as many video as the question asked". They executed the instructions. But they did not give enough time to make a meaningful short description for each person interviewed: they just put in the titles "question 1", "question 2", etcetera: which meant that topics could not be found with the search engines. But really it was fantastic that I could supervise from Italy what was going on in rural India. Another advantage with YouTube was that we could immediately give back to the persons whom interviewed the output of the interviews, so that they could use them for their own project communication strategies. One month after we found that excepts of the interview in the institutional site of Welthungerhilfe!
Then they interviewed “the pundits”, i.e., in our project slang, those who do not do but tell the others what they have to do and why. First they got at the EU ambassador. An elegant lady who elegantly answered to some provocative questions asked by Fausto as if were normal queries that a student presents to his teacher. Well, I thought , if we need in the documentary some typical formal institutional statements … here we have them. And the not English accent of her otherwise English gives a pinch of “European exoticism”. Good.
As far As I know the EU in India delegation web site never used the interview of their Ambassador uploaded on YouTube. In spite of the fact that they have in the staff a ‘communication officer” the approval procedures of what should be published are so lengthily with no one wanting to risk saying something that may be objected by others, that little gets published there excepts official press reports. When 2 years later I got an assignment as evaluator of a EU program in India I did suggest that their institutional web site be given a more dynamic and communicative style. And just to see what was possible to do, I mentioned the web site of the Norwegian international cooperation agency in India, that with much less funds was communicating so much better. However the EU Delegation, which in that case was not only my evaluation beneficiary but also the client of the company that hired me, asked my company to remove that suggestion from the final report.
Next pundit was much more “to the point” and with British sarcasm touched more sensitive cords. Julian was the Oxfam GB manager in South Asia; but before that he worked in the media. His observations about the working style of NGOs roles and challenges are alive and deep. Thanks Julian! We will use you!
But how did Fausto got to the Vice-Chairman of the Indian planning commission !! I just told him to try to get someone from the Indian Government. And he got, amongst the high shot, the one who speak more clearly out what he really thinks! Great job Fausto! (Only remember that if you are interviewing a darker skinned person wearing a turban …. you need an additional light to his face to see his expressions!). In Montek Singh interview we do not see India as a recipient of aid, but as an international player. Good. This is surely out of the usual stereotypes.
Nine Questions to Montek. Nine videos on YouTube. We start having good video material on our web site. Good. Now we need to embed the videos on the WIKI. And then we can start telling people that the WIKI is no longer a plan for work but an expanding repertory of knowledge.
On YouTube ⇒ Millenium Village Project - playlist
Danièle Smadja - EU Ambassador -playlist
Julian Parr - Regional Manager, South East Asia for Oxfam GB- - playlist
Montek Singh Ahluwalia - Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Government of India - playlist