Giving Adolescents a Voice? Using Videos to Represent Reproductive Health Realities of Adolescents in Tanzania

Constanze Dorothee Pfeiffer


Visual research forms part of a growing field in participatory research. Lately new discussions among scientists evolved about conceptual considerations and methodological approaches related to the use of visual participatory methods. The following article presents a reflection on a participatory video project with adolescents aged 15 to 19 in Tanzania from the perspective of the adult researcher. On the one hand the project aimed at gaining visual insights into adolescents' realities related to teenage pregnancy. On the other hand, the young filmmakers were empowered to share their experiences and to use the film clips in order to reach policy makers and practitioners. While the use of an adolescent participatory video approach has great potential to represent different realities and to reach policy makers and practitioners in an appealing way, its drawbacks must also be considered. The methodological implications of this highlight the need to reflect about multiple subjectivities and related courses of action of all actors involved on various levels within society. It is argued that symbolic representations have the potential to create knowledge not only for policy and practice but also for science—as long as the research process, personal background, relationships and actions among involved actors, the socio-cultural context and related power dynamics are presented and unfolded in the final outcome of the visual participatory research.



representations; youth engagement; participatory research; visual research; Tanzania; video

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Copyright (c) 2013 Constanze Dorothee Pfeiffer

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