Presentation of Photovoice at an assembly for the Network of NGOs of Ferghana valley

On May 30, 2014, during the two-day General Assembly of the Network of NGOs of Ferghana Valley, “Valley of Peace”, held at Asia Mountains Hotel in Bishkek, Kuluipa Akmatova, an RDF project coordinator, and Mirgul Amanalieva, an RDF project expert, presented the photovoice method, a qualitative research method used in rural development porjects, to the participants of the assembly.

Their presentation provided information about the main goals and objectives of the method, its difference from other research methods, its basic principles, advantages and disadvantages. They also introduced a brief backgroud on establishment of this method, and, in addition to the presentation, they arranged a photo exhibition with the actual pictures taken during the project implementation. The informational materials and handouts of the photovoice method were available to the participants.

“This method allows us to see what is going on through another prism. The photos express your feelings, bear the information coming from the heart, and there are no barriers. Through photos it is possible to establish a dialogue within a community, and the people can directly participate in the process of discussions, talk about their problems and offer their solutions. And, it is crucial that, through photovoicing, one can see not only the shortcomings, but also the dignity of people,” stated the project coordinator, K. Akmatova.

In 2011, supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through the International Resources Group, RDF implemented a project on “PhotoVoices of Women and Youth in Promoting Peace and Tolerance” in rural municipalities of Ak-Sai and Ak-Tatyr in Batken region and rural municipalities of Toolos and Nookat in Osh region to engage the more vulnerable groups in the process of conflict discussions and joint decision-making.

“We can say that this project has been very successful. In the process of participating at the photo survey, women and young people have gained experience in formulating, defining and voicing their needs and solutions for problems related to conflicts and disagreements,” said the project expert, M. Amanalieva.

At the end of the presentation, the participants of the assembly were curious to know the implementation tools, techniques for beneficiaries’ trainings, and the follow-up monitoring processes of the project.