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Video Volunteers

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Film & Video

Mission: Video Volunteers is an international media organization empowering the voices of the world’s unheard communities. Our mission is to enable the world's poorest citizens to right the wrongs they witness by becoming players in the global media revolution. We provide disadvantaged communities with journalistic, critical thinking and creative skills, teaching people to articulate and share their perspectives on the issues that matter to them – on a local and a global scale.

Results: In India, Video Volunteers has been responsible for creating the largest, most diverse network of full time, salaried “Community Video Producers” anywhere in the world. This media has been seen by more than 300,000 people in outdoor screenings in thousands of village and slum screenings. More than 100 villagers and slumdwellers—former diamond polishers, rickshaw drivers and day laborers – are currently working as Community Producers across our many NGO partners. More than 50% of these people are women, and also come from the communities most affected by human and civil rights violations, namely Dalits, Tribals and Muslims. Video Volunteers’ journalism training of women, which builds capacity in critical thinking, confronting authority, asking questions and researching any issue, has created a new batch of women leaders in all the communities where Video Volunteers and its partners work. The films created by the producers create impact by empowering communities to take action, exposing corruption, expanding the scale and reach of social programs, and creating community leadership. Every video program created has led to documented instances of change in villages and slums.

Target demographics: We work with marginalized and silenced communities, predominantly in India but also in other countries in the global south.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 100 community people and NGO staff whom we train in community media

Geographic areas served: India and Brazil

Programs: Since 2003, Video Volunteers has been creating projects that empower poor and marginalised communities with a voice to address poverty, inequality and injustice. Our main programs are: Community Video Units - Community Video Units (CVUs) create platforms for communities to dialog and find solutions, and empower people to take action on local issues. CVUs are local production entities, created by VV in partnership with different NGOs, that are run by up to 10 community members trained in all aspects of video production and distribution. These “community video producers” make films on issues decided by community editorial boards, that they then screen back on widescreen projectors to thousands of people in the community. Thousands of people have taken action on their issues after seeing these films, and you can read about the impacts here. There are currently ten Community Video Units, who have had more 3000 screenings in over 300 villages and have been seen by more than 300,000 people. IndiaUnheard - Video Volunteers’ IndiaUnheard is India’s first ever Community News Service. IndiaUnheard has a network of more than 31 Community Correspondents (CCs) from 24 states and union territories across India. These Community Correspondents represent India’s most marginalized communities, such as Dalits, tribal people, religious, lingual and sexual minorities. The video reports filed by the CCs are on issues that are of utmost importance to these communities and are not reported by the mainstream media. The powerful combination of these new media approaches—video journalism, SMS reporting and social media networking—will allow them to engage with both a national and international audience in a truly innovative way. VCU.br — Video for Livelihood in Brazil - Based out of Sao Paulo, VCU.br is Video Volunteers’ Brazil project that trains Brazilian youths from slums in how to make a living through videos. The main focus of this project is on livelihood and also on building entrepreneurial skills. So the training here is not just about how to shoot or write a script, but also about how to sell the videos that they make. This is why the young trainees are also learning how to pitch story ideas to TV industry and other clients. These young people are learning how to develop their entrepreneurial skills by using their difficult background as an asset. Videoshala E-CVUs - Videoshala is a program that trains community members to produce educational videos and VV is one of three NGOs that created this program. These videos are imbued with the value of diversity, democracy and citizenship and are shown in local schools. Girl Powered Videos - The Girl Powered video program trains adolescent girls from underprivileged background in video production. Under this program VV has partnered with Global Fund for Children, NGOs Sanved and Mahita to train adolescent girls in video making and has developed a toolkit on how such girls can use the power of the visual media to voice their stories. Videos for Livelihood - Video Volunteers is working to devise business models that will help community media reach high levels of sustainability, earn revenue through partnering with the mainstream media and via collaborations with other NGOs. Presently VV is collaborating with Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad to develop a business model which can be followed by various community video units (CVUs) to attain financial sustainability.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 1

Scammers, unprofessional, founder is the vorst of all, she missaproppriates the funds.


Rating: 5

I interned with this organization in 2009 and had the most amazing experience. It is a small, vibrant, creative organization working tirelessly to empower marginalized communities in the global south - predominantly India - using community media to amplify voices. I had such a great time and was so committed to the work this organization is doing that I am now back working with them full-time.