Panos London is working with the Andrew Lees Trust (ALT) to provide the Antandroy and Antanosy communities with a platform to share their experiences and knowledge and to voice their concerns and priorities for the future. One of the project’s main aims is that responses to climate change and future development in the region will be informed by indigenous people’s experience, priorities and reality.
These films and life stories were recorded by Antandroy men and women following participatory workshops in filming and oral testimony interviewing. They are currently being communicated to local and regional audiences via radio and community events. Later this year, national audiences will be reached through a Malagasy and French publication as well as television and print media coverage. Panos London is using the internet to reach international audiences.
The films were produced in April 2008 in the coastal community of Faux Cap. Over 10 days, eight men and women were trained and supported to plan, shoot and contribute to the editing of six films. Participants worked in four groups related to the issues they wanted to address – animal husbandry, dunes, fishing and agriculture – and produced a total of six 10-15 minute films. Once edited, the films were shared with the wider community at a screening event attended by over 500 people.
The ALT is currently organising a screening event in Ambovombe, the region’s capital, to show the films to regional decision makers and elders from the Androy community. It is hoped the films will catalyse debate about the challenges facing the Antandroy and inform future development activities.
The life stories
In November 2007 eight men and women from four Antanosy communities, together with four ALT staff developed their oral testimony interviewing skills during a six-day workshop. Training included questioning skills, recording equipment and interview relationships. Role-plays, drawings and other experiential methodologies were used to ensure that low literacy levels were no barrier to full participation.
Participants gave the project the name Project Hepa – an acronym from a Malagasy phrase meaning “Proclaim what is in your heart”.
Most of the oral testimony work has been carried out in the Anosy region, although one of the interviewers collected four life stories in Androy, two from Faux Cap and two from Antanimora. The life stories presented here are edited versions of those four interviews.
A total of 54 interviews were recorded in Anosy, 36 of which have been translated into English. A selection of these will be presented on the Panos London website in October 2008. In the meantime ALT is producing a series of radio programmes based on the life stories for audiences across southern Madagascar. All participants have kept their recording equipment and are planning to record more interviews in the future.