Chivoko Village Uses Video to Share Conservation Success [HD Video]

Participatory video is accessible to all genders and levels of education

Participatory Video is a method pioneered by Insightshare whereby a community of people are taught the basics of video production, how to plan a story and create a storyboard and then given a video camera and computer to produce a short film of their own choosing.

The purpose of the video is to create discussion, communicate issues, and ultimately make change.

Most documentaries are made by professional filmmakers who have years of experience behind a camera, and who have their own agenda, but through Participatory Video, putting the camera into the subjects hands helps them to express themselves and tell their own story exactly how it is.

In April 2011, supported by the AusAID-funded project “Building the resilience of communities and their ecosystems to the impacts of climate change in the Pacific”, led by The Nature Conservancy, I facilitated the first Participatory Video activity in the Solomon Islands, in the remote village of Chivoko on the north-west tip of Choiseul Island.

Chivoko recently had been under great pressure from a Malaysian logging company that wanted to commence large-scale environmentally damaging logging on their tribal land for little compensation. The money offered was very tempting for some in a village that relies on selling copra (dried coconut), fruit and vegetables, and trochus shells for income, but in the end the Chief and the rest of the community agreed to not allow logging to go ahead on their land, and instead to look into the possibility of an Eco-Timber operation.

The small village of Chivoko received a Swiss-RE International ReSource award in 2008 for Sustainable Watershed Management, at a time when the tribal land of Chivoko was one of the few forests remaining on the Solomon Islands that hadn’t succumbed to clearfell logging. This award has allowed the beginnings of an Eco-Timber operation, where trees will be selectively harvested, so as to minimise environmental damage, prevent erosion and sedimentation into pristine waterways that are the source of drinking water, and infiltrate through vast mangrove systems and then out to the sea.

Because the villagers understand the importance of water quality, they have preserved their mangrove areas and the reef just off shore is exceptionally healthy. In fact it is a breeding ground for the grouper, so every year, hundreds of grouper congregate around their local coral reefs to lay their eggs. The community of Chivoko have shown initiative and created an MPA (Marine Protected Area), so effectively it is a ‘no take’ area and the grouper have a chance to breed and increase their numbers thereby ensuring plenty of fish for the ever-growing community and building resilience to ensuing climate change.

Chivoko is a model for community conservation in the Solomon Islands and the fact that they made this film themselves to share with other communities is a testament to the wisdom and insight they possess. Producing their own film is an achievement in itself and requires alot of skill, knowledge and patience. In only 5 weeks, the men and women of Chivoko were transformed into confident and professional filmmakers.

View the full 15 min. film produced by Chivoko Village here

2 Responses

  • November 11, 2012 at 11:12 am

    What a beautiful film and a wonderful idea! The people of Choiseul, the forests, plant and animal life, the ocean, reefs, and marine life deserve protection and care from any outsiders who come to take in ways that are economic, shortsighted and greedy.

    Clear felling is an atrocity and should be illegal, there is no ecological, sustainable, or intellectual sound reason for it’s continuance. I hope other tribes see this video and hear the message that there are alternatives to selling sacred lands for short term monetary gain, which inevitably lead to widespread devastation and impoverished generations of all life in the surrounding areas. Aloha and peace to Chivoko

    • November 11, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Thanks Noha, what part of the Solomons do you live in? Would love to do some surfing over there but always seem to be carrying too much camera gear and never anytime for searching for good waves…

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