Capturing women's voices on climate change through participatory video

nepal_participatory video

A pilot project in Eastern Terai of Nepal conducted a three-day video production training, to provide local women with the technical skills and confidence to document their experiences and report on the effects of climate change on their livelihoods.




CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Rural Self Reliance Development Center (RSDC)


Climate Change Adaptation and Gender Equality

Overview of activities: 

On November 2012, a group of women from Dhanusha District, Eastern Terai of Nepal were trained to document their experiences through participatory videos. This enabled them to voice their views on issues related to climate change and its effects on them.

Participatory videos enable individuals, particularly the non- or less literate ones, to communicate their perspectives and knowledge to large groups of audiences, thereby empowering them. These provide opportunities for people to "take the lead and decide which messages they want to convey and how they want to convey it" (Clement, 2013).


A group of 12 women from Thadhi Jhijha Village Development Committee (VDC) of Dhanusha District received training on the basics of video production from a professional filmmaker from Art for Change Trust, Preeya Naira. After the training, they documented their experiences on how climate change has affected their livelihood through interviews and created a short film on these. In the film, they were able to raise several concerns: impact of climatic variability on crops and vegetation; men’s migration and women’s status; decision-making power in the village or access to groundwater for irrigation; and how the weather and seasons are embedded within cultural and religious practices. Moreover, throughout the process, an independent filmmaker was documenting the reactions of the participants. 

The film was screened in several locations: in the village, in a district-level workshop with the presidents from the 12 cooperatives of the district, in a national workshop on aid effectiveness in Kathmandu, and in a research meeting at the IWMI Headquarters in Sri Lanka. 

Major outcomes:

Through the film, women's issues were raised and this created realizations among the locals on the relevance of these to their community. Furthermore, the independent filmmaker was able to capture the facial expressions of the participants which showed confidence and pride in their experience.

Watch the final video

Milestones/Lessons Learned:

Based on this project, the research team plans to start a long term initiative which will involve a group composed of both men and women who can independently produce 2-3 films in a year. Themes that they can explore include the following: various experiences of environmental change and adaptation throughout the different seasons across different social groups; and how men and women make decisions within their households on livelihood strategies and what they value most when making such decisions.


Floriane Clement - researcher at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Nepal office -

For more information, you may check Clement's article here.

You may also want to see the project's photo stream on Flickr.

Photo credit: Pawan Kumar