IOM Gives Voice to Venezuelan Indigenous Communities through Participatory Video Screenings
Boa Vista – More than 300 indigenous people of Warao and Eñepas ethnic groups from Venezuela, local authorities and NGO representatives gathered last week (31/05), at Pintolandia Shelter, in Boa Vista, Brazil, for a special edition of the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF).
The event was organized by IOM, local partners and authorities to present two videos created by 20 shelter members trained in participatory video making by IOM GMFF facilitators over four days. These indigenous people were affected by the situation in Venezuela and left the country in search of basic needs such as food and medicine.
The State of Roraima has registered the highest number of Venezuelans who have entered Brazil recently. According to the Brazilian Government, until April over 40,000 Venezuelans have applied for the regularization of their migration status in the country.
Through games and exercises, the Waraos and Eñepas learned how to use the video equipment and choose the themes and stories they wanted to record in their films. Through a participatory editing process, they edited their videos which were screened to the community living in Pintolândia, a shelter specifically set up for indigenous migrants, currently hosting over 700 people.
This initiative aims to empower and amplify the affected community’s voices and foster social cohesion between the different ethnic groups and communities living in the shelter.
According to Madga Azevedo, a Representative from Labour and Social Welfare Secretary’s office – the governmental entity which manages Pintolândia shelter – the method is collaborating to strengthen the integration of the two indigenous groups living in the same space. “I felt emotional with their reactions watching their own videos. It was about empowerment and self-recognition,” she says.
Immediately after the screening, members of the participatory video making process spoke about how they felt after watching themselves on the big screen along with fellow community members. “I enjoyed that we looked at two themes: the Waraos and the Eñepas. This was excellent because we have never looked at ourselves like this, through a video camera. It was like a big meeting between the two ethnicities living here. It was wonderful to see that happening,” explained Baudilio Centeno, a Warao participant.
Karina Lopez, an Eñepas participant, said she was delighted after the screening: “I liked watching both videos and also enjoyed that they were made by us.”
Almost 80, Pillar Paredes was the eldest participant amongst the two groups and had never made a video before. She filmed a segment presenting a typical Warao dance. During the video screening, she was sitting by her grand-daughter who laughed when Pillar appeared on the big screen singing and dancing. Her reaction after watching their video? “I have decided that I will teach the children here our traditional dances.”
The two facilitators leading the process, Amanda Nero, IOM Communication Officer and Fernanda Baumhardt, a participatory video expert from the Norwegian Refugee Council's NORCAP, both noted that the process was challenging as the two ethnic groups have very different ways of expressing themselves and communicating. “It was important to have two different processes for each group to respect their own pace and style,” explained Nero. Baumhardt observed that despite coming from different indigenous background, they are similar in many ways. “They also have similar stories, needs and concerns,” Baumhardt explained.
IOM has recently carried out a study about the rights and legal status of indigenous migrants in Brazil, especially the Warao. Through the study, IOM emphasizes the legal tools available to grant equal treatment to Brazilian and Venezuelan indigenous groups and focus on the Warao demands to reshape public policies to their specific needs, safeguarding their indigenous identity. More information about this research can be found here.
IOM’s GMFF Participatory Video Project is an initiative to amplify voices, empower and foster social cohesion in migrants’ affected communities. The workshop tour kicked off in Amman, Jordan, in October 2017. In November, IOM went to Malakal, South Sudan, to work with communities that have fled war and violence and in December last year, the workshop was done with a group of migrants living in Geneva, Switzerland.
The initiative is funded by the IOM Development Fund (IDF) and supported by NORCAP.
Watchhow the videos were produced.
For more information, please contact Amanda Nero at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 227 179 482, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org