International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples: IOM Gives Voice to Venezuelan Indigenous Communities through Participatory Video Screenings

Global Migration Film Festival

Boa Vista – On International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples today, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) shares the experience of giving voice to indigenous people from Venezuela in the State of Roraima, Brazil, through a participatory video produced in May 2018.

The participative initiative, implemented last year under the framework of the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF), was aimed at Warao and Eñepas ethnic groups at Pintolandia Shelter in Roraima’s capital Boa Vista.

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 Venezuelan indigenous.

The State of Roraima has registered the highest number of Venezuelans who have entered Brazil. The Federal Police has recorded 103,697 asylum requests from Venezuelans and another 74,860 who applied for temporary residency in Brazil, as of May 2019.

Once the video was produced, IOM organized a presentation with local partners and authorities to present the two videos created by 20 shelter members trained in participatory video making by IOM GMFF facilitators over four days.

This initiative aimed to empower and amplify the affected community’s voices and foster social cohesion between the different ethnic groups and communities living in the shelter.

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.”

One of the facilitators leading the process, Amanda Nero, IOM Communication Officer, 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.

IOM Brazil 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. Similar initiatives were implemented in Amman, Jordan, in October 2017. In November 2017, 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 was funded by the IOM Development Fund (IDF) and supported by NORCAP.

Watch how the videos were produced.

For more information, please contact Amanda Nero at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 227 179 482, Email: