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Monash University brings power to the people through video project

Monash University researchers have developed a solution to empower community voices through video.

The Faculty of Information Technology (IT), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have created an open source video program to give isolated and remote communities the ability to share their stories and raise public awareness of the local issues they're facing.

By offering a supportive and collaborative storytelling video process, Indaba will amplify local voices by helping rural communities film and publish meaningful stories without advanced technical skills, the university states.

Working closely with the IFRC, researchers in the Faculty of IT developed Indaba in over 13 real-world deployments internationally.

From Indonesia to Honduras, the project has worked with more than 1,100 people and has helped raise awareness of water and sanitation initiatives, expose nutrition and agricultural issues, advocate for vulnerable children and more.

After two-and-a-half years Monash and the IFRC will release Indaba to the public as an open source, creative commons software. They will also make an interactive toolkit available to more than 190 countries in four languages.

These resources will ensure that knowledge gained from the videos can be made public to raise attention and support for rural communities and the challenges they face, the researchers state.

Project Lead Dr Tom Bartindale, lecturer in the Faculty of IT, says Indaba blends next-generation features in a digitally augmented process to allow non-professionals to reinforce community delivered media.

“Video production has traditionally been an endeavour limited to those with high media literacy. Through Indaba, a group, community or organisation can create authentic videos, from ideation to production, and tell their story without third-party intervention,” Bartindale says.

For Miki Tsukamoto, Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator at the IFRC, the Indaba participatory video process has also been valuable in gathering community feedback for the IFRC and National Society projects.

“IFRC’s Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Unit in Geneva is pleased to launch this innovative tool Indaba with Monash University. It’s helping us create more efficient, and inclusive approaches to project monitoring and evaluation,” says Miki Tsukamoto.

Indaba is a key initiative from Monash University’s Action Lab, a cross-disciplinary research group specialising in interaction design and ubiquitous computing. The Lab explores how digital technologies can give citizens greater control over their lives and enhance their ability to help each other.