An Assessment of Video Advocacy as an Instrument for Change. Case Study: The Our Voices Matter Campaign to Combat Sexual Violence Against Women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Abstract: With the rise of new information and communication technologies, advocacy campaigns in development have experienced a resurgence of video as an instrument to enrich outreach efforts and build bridges, to empower marginalised groups and rescue the culture and heritage of indigenous people, and to reach decision-makers – and ultimately change policies and laws. The use of “humanising” elements through film, such as the oral testimonies of individuals, allows practitioners to transport the realities and conditions of specific localities to audiences otherwise unable to experience them directly. The present study examines the mechanisms through which video advocacy reaches audiences, looking specifically at trade-offs and knock-on effects among key stakeholders, based upon the case study of the Our Voices Matter advocacy film. The video features oral testimonies of local women survivors of rape from the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It is employed to campaign for justice for women victims of sexual violence and to mobilise social change to alter the role of women in the region. In light of the multifaceted nature of video advocacy use in development, the study utilises a composite of three analysis techniques, employing the collection and critical examination of information both qualitative and quantitative in nature: A content analysis of the case study, examining the narrative and semiotic elements used by the film’s producers, was designed to complement interviews with stakeholders of the campaign. An international survey of women was conducted to shine light on how vulnerable groups across the world relate to the video in question and evaluate the effectiveness of video advocacy. The composite discussion reveals insights into video advocacy conception, strategy, and implementation, with particular emphasis on stakeholder mapping, while underscoring the potential for trade-offs and knock-on effects among stakeholder groups. The case study also provides a theoretical and practical basis for similar communication for development campaigns.
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