Documenting challenges of the Blanchisseuse fishing industry

The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) and the University of the West Indies cooperated on a pilot project to use participatory video to help the fishers of Blanchisseuse, a small Trinidad and Tobago fishing community, document challenges of fishing in their community and share these with partners who can help them to address these problems. The project was produced with the support of a small grant awarded following the workshop Caribbean Impact 2.0: New mechanisms for linking research and policy, organised by Fundación Comunica and Panos Caribbean in February 2011.

The video was made during a two-day workshop at which eleven community members discussed, analysed, and documented the challenges they face, while producing this eight and a half minute documentary. The video was shot on mobile telephones.

The conclusions detailed in the workshop report include:

The participants were able to identify and document challenges they face in the fishing industry in Blanchisseuse and possible solutions to those challenges. They were also able to understand the process of making participatory videos to use as a tool for advocacy.

Participatory video is a tool that had several advantages for the Blanchisseuse community.   

  • The video helped to visually portray the challenges in the community to make them real to the audience.  There will be a larger impact when presenting the issues to the decision-makers with the video than presenting the issues without the video.
  • The video empowered the community by giving them a voice.  The video is an avenue that all the stakeholders can use to articulate their challenges.  Many community members are intimidated when directly addressing decision-makers but they are more comfortable expressing their opinions to their peers who are interviewing them.  
  • The video also empowered the community because the participants were the authors, directors, producers, videographers and editors of the video.  Participants said that they felt very proud of their work.
  • The video can also be used to take the community and its challenges to the decisionmakers. This allows the decision-makers to see the challenges without visiting the sites. It can save the decision-makers time as they do not have to visit the community to see and hear about problems.
  • The use of the video helps the community to simplify a complex story.  The video produced as part of this project was less than 10 minutes and was able to address both the challenges and suggest solutions to those problems.
  • Making the video was an interesting process of documenting the challenges in the community.  Many of the participants commented that they had fun during the two-days of video capture.



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