Step One: Your story of “Why?”

It is important to answer the question of why you are starting a Video for Change initiative. What specific issues will the initiative cover, what outcomes are possible, and who is involved?

You can refer to your Impact Statement here to answer some of these questions.

With clear answers to these questions, you can start a conversation with various stakeholders, including the affected community, about what needs to be done to change their situation.

It is important that you and the people involved in your initiative are clear on the complex dynamics that have led to the situation you now hope to change. Even if you already know quite a bit about the issue you want to tackle, it’s still worthwhile putting your thoughts on paper.

The Fledgling Fund suggests you ask the following questions:

  • Does it add to or advance our understanding of the issue?
  • Is it a unique perspective?
  • Is this project likely to make a difference?
  • Is it likely to change attitudes and perhaps behaviour?
  • Is the issue socially ripe for change?
  • Can this project move the issue forward? Or will something be lost if the project doesn’t move forward?


The following methods may be useful during the research and planning stage. It’s not necessary to use all of them. Choose and adapt those that make sense for you, and match them to the resources and skills you have available.

Review existing research

Examine reports, books, journals and news articles to compile a brief about what you know about the situation, including key events, facts and statistics. This will help you understand the political, social and cultural context of your situation. Include a review of other videos and films about the situation.

Make a summary document and presentation for your participant communities, key stakeholders and project team to ensure everyone is familiar with what has already been documented. The summary document describes the key circumstances and context that are contributing to the situation you wish to change. Highlight any gaps in the research or questions that still remain.

Community or participant-driven discovery

Discovery from participant contributions can enrich your research and planning process, as the people and communities involved will be better represented. You may use your existing networks and contacts to invite people to contribute information or knowledge, and you may also use the media, including community media, to put out a call for participation.

Interview people or facilitate small discussions

Collect original research data by talking to people informally at this stage. It’s possible no one else has written or made a video about your selected issue, or that voices and perspectives of the affected community have been ignored in what has been previously produced. Therefore, informal discussion at this point is crucial to build trust with those who are able to inform your research

You can also email people questions to answer, or put out a public call and ask people to record their answers on mobile video and send it back to you. If it makes sense for your initiative, you could make the research more open by putting it online where you start a dialogue with people affected by an issue.

Carry out original data analysis

You can bring in collaborators to help you analyse, map or visualise data in ways that can help you identify new narratives, patterns and frames. This will allow you to ask questions that may not yet have been asked or answered.

You can organise an event — for example, a hackathon — where volunteer programmers and other experts come together to collect, analyse or visualise data. You can also organise what is known as a ‘data expedition,’ where a team of experts work either online or offline to help you think about new ways of addressing problems using technology, data and evidence.

Find out more on the School of Data website, which is included in the resources section.

Collectively identify key facts and knowledge gaps

Gather key facts, data (including photographs or video stills) or quotes that you think best illustrate important aspects of the situation that your Video for Change initiative is addressing. Present these facts, data and quotes to your project team and key participants to explore and discuss.

Facilitate a discussion that allows them to ask questions about the information. Rank the data according to importance, either individually or collectively. Then, discuss what is most important to your initiative and make a prioritised list of additional research needs to address gaps. The objective is to find knowledge gaps that may lead to new insights.

Ask key stakeholders or participant communities what they want to know

Often the people most affected by an issue are best placed to determine what questions your research needs to address. To ask the relevant people what they want to know about the issue you are exploring, place a project question board in your project space. Make sure it is accessible for local governments, community organisations, private enterprises and community members — it can be located online and/or offline — and keep adding to it. You can allow these questions to drive the research process.

Create an issue briefing video

A short video presented to stakeholders can help them quickly understand the goals of the initiative. This video may explain how you see the issue and how you’ve explored and analysed it, and can be used to generate new discussions about what is going on and what might be done about it. It is an inclusive and open way to begin a project, without assuming you need to know everything and have all the solutions.