Use of Picture Series Gaining Momentum in KSL

Employing picture series as a tool to sensitize community members

The Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative’s (KSLCDI) efforts to encourage the use of pictures as an adult education tool have been receiving positive reviews from community members on the ground. 

In the past year, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) with the support of GIZ, has published five picture series manuals. These have been used extensively, finding success in various parts of the Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL), across China, India, and Nepal, by getting local community members to think critically and discuss their ideas, opinions and reasoning with each other.

“I now understand why it is important to cause as little damage as possible to yarshagumba collection sites,” says a yarshagumba collector from Khar village VDC, Darchula district, Nepal, “We still want to be harvesting yarshagumba in five years’ time.” He had attended an awareness session on yarshagumba management in spring 2016. KSLCDI’s Yarshagumba Management picture series was an integral part of the session. 

Picture series published till date include: Aspects of Groundwater and Hydrogeology; Governance for Springshed Management; Yarshagumba Management; Ecosystems, Biodiversity and Livelihoods in the Tibet Autonomous Region, China; and Greening the Yak Dairy Value Chain. Six additional series are currently under preparation and in the process of being finalized.

Using picture series to explore ideas and foster discussion among community members 

A tool for adult education

As a tool for inclusive and participatory adult education, pictures series sensitize local community members on topics that directly affect their livelihoods, health and everyday lives. Non-scientific language, clear messages and meaningful pictures not only allow users to introduce complicated and multi-layered topics to local populations, but also to steer the thought processes of community members, and to encourage them to discuss possible issues and actively tackle them.

The tool aims to imbibe in all community members, many of whom might have received very little formal education, an understanding of the technical and social aspects of a chosen topic. Picture series reach out to participants from all social and economic backgrounds. With equal integration of all ages and both genders, picture series can be very inclusive as a tool. 

Impacts in the field

The creation of a common knowledge base among participants is one of the underlying targets of picture series sessions. Such sessions allow community members to comprehend connections, to identify present problems, and to come up with possible solutions leading ultimately to a shared vision for the chosen topic. This not only builds participants’ self-confidence, but also motivates community members who contribute voluntarily to more actively engage in activities and become more proactive in working for a better future for their respective communities. By helping local people become agents of change, pictures series can influence their everyday lives, livelihoods and health for the better. 

Janita Gurung, biodiversity and conservation management specialist at ICIMOD attests the effectiveness of picture series in helping community members better understand concepts, and use the knowledge gained to help themselves and their community. “During an allo value chain proofing workshop we organized in 2016, the related picture series enabled us to interact with participants in a simple, flexible and effective manner,” she said. “Value chain proofing is a very theoretical approach. The use of pictures made it was easy for us to discuss with community members the differences between climate and weather, and how climate change is affecting their production of allo fabrics.”