Development Cooperation Handbook/The video resources linked to this handbook/The Documentary Story/Integrating the video material with the manual
Integrating the video material with the manual
So the Eugad project was over and the new project which was building on it started.
The first step was to complete the Manual. The manual left over from Eugad project was important but badly organized. It needed thorough editing. And I decided to do that first.
I wrote the introductory chapters where the project was explained. I reorganized the division of the chapters, differentiating the theoretical and the practical sections. I rearranged the “issues” and prepared a Playlist on YouTube channels for each issue. Then I linked the manual pages, where we author describe the subject matter, with the issues, where the testimonials give their different points of view.
So the wiki the main pages of the manual we have defined the concepts, illustrate the work phases and shared the work tools. These are "authored" pages, where opinions are distilled into concepts . Then these pages are linked to the "issues", where the testimonials give their different point of view. The manual pages define and enclose: the issue pages widens the scope and open the debate. The manual pages synthesize, the issue pages discuss. So I tried to generate a dynamic forward-backwards movement between questions and answers, thesis and antithesis, leaving the user to make the synthesis and make her/his own opinion.
In this way I also tried to maintain a living dynamism between individual authorship and open participation. The trouble with open fora is that all remain at the level of opinions, which follow one after another and all remain unorganized and un-prioritized. While the trouble with the single person authorship is that what is said has the pretense of "absoluteness", as a sort of "voice of God". So I tried to open up the unavoidable subjectivity of any conceptual organization with the collection of testimonials which see the matter from different points of view. I intend to maintain this plurality of points of view also in the editing of the documentary, avoiding the "voice of God" pretentiousness that is so typical of standard news making.
In order to preserve the different identities of each testimonial I decided to create a separate wiki page (and a Youtube playlist) for each "pundit" interviewed. So when you are in the page of the issues and you listen to the opinion of one of the testimonials, you can decide to click on the testimonial name and go to her/his page where the whole interview, with the answer on different issues. This is also a way of being fair to the interviewed person, whose views in the news are quoted sometimes out of context in a manner that may betray her/his intentions. And the full interview can be "given back" to the interviewed person, who can use it and share it as she/he likes.
I also prepared a Wiki page and a YouTube playlist of each one of the “stories”. In these playlists we could share the whole interviews collected within the stories and, as for the interviews with the pundits, reveal the whole context out of which we arbitrary chose only small portions for the edited documentary. And agai we could "give back" to the organizations that are managing the projects a set of resources that they can use for their own communication activities.
Formally the project financed by the EuroeAid was over. But the true project was taking up now. We were using all the resources created in Eugad, but we were making something new. We felt there was need to change the name also. Eugad was an acronym for "European citizens working for the global agenda for development". The "European" element needed to be dropped in a project that now did not have any specific geographical connotation. Also the word "citizens" was sounding too "institutional" for a project that had taken a more funky turn.
I also wanted a name easier to remember and with a personality of its own. Possibly a name of a woman. Better a name outside European-centrism. We finally decided for "Vrinda". And we named the project "The Vrinda project".
"Vrinda" (वृन्दा) in Sanskrit signifies the "harmony resulting from the choice of working together for the same objective" (from the root वृ = choice). I liked the concept of "choice" because it fit the modality of communication that we wanted to built: something that helps to choose (not something that we do to convince). I liked the concept of "harmony together", as it was precisely describing what we wanted to cultivate within the communication platform we were creating.
Vrinda is also a woman name. So we could give a name, i.e. an independent personality, to the project. The only problem was that actually Vrinda was the name of one of the main character of the documentary and also one of the contributors to the wiki. But then why not to give to the Vrinda project the face of the Vrinda person? Yes, why not? To me it appeared as we could do it. I tried to put Vrinda's face directly in the wiki pages of the handbook in video clips that were introducing the topics. And it worked! So OK. Vrinda now will be both: the project and the human face of the project.
In the meanwhile the character of the project was changing and it was becoming less something "to inform" and more something "to share". The Wiki spaces had created a peer-to-peer cooperative environment where development actors share their experiences, expose their views and enable each other to better tackle development cooperation issues. Of course the structure was not a "collective" elaboration. But it was made to enable constructive collaboration and participation. Now persons can contribute interviews to be added in the list of testimonials and their opinion inserted in the debates upon the fundamental issues. Organizations can narrate the work they are doing and these can be added in the list of development cooperation stories. Persons and organizations can share project tools that can be added in the available menu of templates, guidelines, checklists, definitions, web sites and other resources. Discussion about the manual chapters can be done on the "discussion" pages of each wiki page. And the whole effort is to promote the wider participation possible in a manner that contributions are capitalized, organized, made easily accessible and shared. Unlike what happens with the comments on blogs, which are not prioritized and remain merely as "opinions" and not as "learning resources".
But besides this "grammatical" organization of the communication platform, the intention of the Vrinda project is to generate a sense of "community feeling" amongst the development actors who do their job with faith and enthusiasm. Surely we want to "collect knowledge": but not like in a museum. Surely we want to capitalize and share resources: but not like in warehouse. The real essential resource that we have is our humanity, and that cannot be "stored". It is something that we can share but cannot "save". So the communication methodology of the Vrinda project is to try to foster a sense of solidarity amongst development actors who put their souls in their work.
A community is always reinforced through celebrations. So, we need a communicative space where “the tribe of those who have overcome tribalism” celebrate what mainstream media does not recognize as news: the successes of dialogue, sharing tools for peace building, narrating stories of those who contribute to just and fairer relationships among peoples, cultures and nations.
See in the handbook
Backstage ⇒ Editing Issues