Bridging Gaps in Community Organizing through Multimedia

Oemi Faezathi
“When you are talking with women, sometimes there is difficulty in language.  I come from West Java which has a different language from West and South Sumatra.  Most of the people from South Sumatra cannot understand the Bahasa language easily as they have a different provincial dialect,” reveals Oemi Faezathi, community organizer of PEKKA.
This is where media tools come in.
The use of multimedia certainly breaks the language barrier in organizing as Indonesia, a large archipelagic country with a huge population and very diverse cultures and languages – pose great challenge, especially to community organizers who work in and are grounded in far-flung provinces.
Oemi Faezathi filmingOemi Faezathi’s community work is an interesting real story about innovative organizing of rural poor women in Indonesia.  She uses radio program recordings, colourful photos and video documentaries in her education and advocacy work whenever possible and wherever available.
“When organizing women, it is necessary for them to internalize the vision and mission of the organization.  Women need to recognize the issues and to identify the commonalities that they have with other women.  That is why we need media tools.  These help women understand concepts better,” Oemi enthuses.  With teaching aids, whether it’s a radio program recording or a video documentary of the lives and struggles of women, “it becomes easier for women to understand and to have awareness in the process,” Oemi adds.
Oemi giving women's orientation using video documentariesOemi admits, “I am not using professional video editing tools. When I make videos, I only use a simple video maker program.  But with the video documentaries that PEKKA produces, I participate in the content and story lines.  I do the video documentation but usually the video editing is done by another team.”
When asked if she had formal training on radio, photo, and videography, Oemi acknowledges, “I learned about video documentation through trainings by PEKKA.”  PEKKA also does knowledge building in multimedia as the skills are transferred to the community women as well.
Apart from PEKKA, Oemi’s involvement with JASS since 2007 complements her skills.  Oemi has joined the ICT training co-sponsored by JASS held in Yogyakarta in 2011.  She served as a resource person on photography and was a participant at the same time.
Oemi Faezathi teaching womenIn PEKKA, women push for affirmative action.  As Oemi relates, “There is no program specifically for the women in women-headed households.  We need support not just from non-government organizations (NGOs).  This is big work.”
“This is the power of the media and how we women use it in our work,” she adds.
Indeed, there is a great need to organize more women.  For such a gargantuan task, Oemi’s multimedia skills certainly come in handy.
Oemi does not limit herself to use simple materials such as ordinary papers and pentel pens, chalks and blackboards as reliable visual aids.  Oemi’s style – maximizing multimedia – learned from PEKKA and from JASS, is an approach that definitely takes community organizing to the hilt.