TransparencyBe clear and open about your plans and objectives. This is an important ethical issue as the actors or communities Video for Change practitioners want to work with and support can feel vulnerable to media exploitation and may have past experiences of this. Transparency about intentions creates solid foundations for trust but this must be supported by your practices. 

Openness about intent is also important for managing expectations: what time and resources will go into the initiative and what will and will not be possible?

Being clear and open about your plans and objectives is one of the core values of a Video for Change initiative. As a Video for Change practitioner, your goal is to build (lasting) partnerships within the communities that you are working in. Transparency is also important to develop ownership among those involved. When people feel they have something at stake then they will support you in your work.

At the practical level, transparency is a key strategy in managing the expectations of your partners. If they are aware of what time and resources you have for your initiative, then the people involved know what to expect from you.

Transparency should be accurate. Sharing false, or unverified information doesn’t fulfil the purpose of this ethic. Remember, transparency gives the people involved in your initiative the opportunity to make decisions and participate in designing your project. If the information shared with them isn’t accurate then decision-making is flawed.

Transparency should be accessible and relevant. For some people being transparent is about sharing a project brief with the project partners. We believe that’s not enough for meaningful transparency. As a Video for Change practitioner, you should make sure that you are sharing information in a way that’s understandable and actionable by the community involved in your project. It’s also important to think about the sectors of people with whom information will be shared and which information they’ll be able to act on. This means using multiple ways of communicating your plans and objectives and translating these to a language that’s understandable to the people you are talking to.


Transparency should be timely. It’s important to consider transparency as an on-going process, not a one-time activity. As your initiative progresses, situations may change. You might get more funds. You might get more people interested in participating your initiative. There might be new developments in the issue that you are covering in your video that will affect your work. Meaningful transparency requires that these new developments are shared with all people involved in your project.

Transparency should be open. Transparency is meaningless without Accountability. The main goal of being open and clear about your intentions is that the people you involve in your project will have the necessary information and opportunities to question and judge your actions. This means that, as a Video for Change practitioner, you must be able to respond to feedback – both negative and positive – and allow input from the community and other stakeholders affect how you’ve designed and possibly will continue your project.


Considerations in Transparency

How transparent is transparency? Do you share everything about your Video for Change initiative to everyone? What are the issues if you do so? How will your goals benefit from being fully open to everyone about what you are doing? Could your Video for Change initiative suffer from being too transparent or not transparent enough?

Another issue to consider is risk. Mitigating Risk sometimes seems in opposition to transparency, although sometimes the fact that we are open about what we are doing can keep us safe. 

Central to mitigating risk is the protection and security of all the people involved in your project – including yourself and your team. If you’re open about your intentions, you are opening yourself – and the community and involved people – up to risk by having goals, strategies and processes available for everyone to see. What are the risks you’re taking when opening up about your project too much or not enough?

In the table below, you can look at different areas of transparency and ask yourself some questions in order to determine how much transparency is needed in your Video for Change initiative.


Areas of Transparency in Video for Change Questions to reflect on Considerations
Your goals, objectives, purpose, and the intended audience for your video.
  • How much of this will you share with your stakeholders?
  • Who do you share the purpose of your Video for Change project with – and why?
  • How will your project be strengthened by sharing this? How will the community be strengthened by knowing about your goals?

Look at your stakeholders and determine who to share these with.

The team, the people you will film and interview, those that you expect to help you produce the film should be actively informed about your goals, objectives and purpose.

Your resources: time, human resources, financial resources.
  • What’s the effect on the community and the people involved in your project to know what the budget is? Will it encourage them to participate? Will it hinder them?
  • How much flexibility will you have in your budget to accommodate feedback from the community, your team, and anyone else involved in your project?
While in theory, it might good for everyone to know the budget, in practice this could cause conflicts if not managed correctly. Some projects do go to this level of transparency, but it is rather rare.
Decisions and decision-making processes: how are decisions being made in your project? What are the levels and spaces for decision-making?
  • Who will be invited to sit during meetings where decisions are made about your project?
  • How will you consult with the stakeholders of your Video for Change initiative?
  • How much space for input and feedback from others will you accept in making decisions for your project?
  • Who are the key decision makers and what is the scope of their power?

It’s important to consider how transparent you want your decision-making processes to be.

Be clear about where people can participate and their scope. Conflicts often arise when big promises are made but there is no follow through.

New developments affecting your project.
  • How often will you update the stakeholders about project developments?
  • If you receive information that negatively affects the initiative, how and when will you share it with your stakeholders?
  • What are your processes and mechanisms to allow the community and people involved in your project to inform you of new developments affecting your project? Will you share rough cuts to get feedback?

There will always be new issues, challenges and opportunities as you carry out your Video for Change initiative.

The consideration here is how much you will share with your stakeholders, especially when it’s a negative development, and how will sharing such developments affect your project.