Independent consultants who evaluated the video training project at its completion in 2004 judged it a success. They found that NGOs and community groups had used their videos and photographs “to inform and influence local and provincial decision-makers,” while campaigns these groups had triggered with their work had “helped stop the destruction of forests on which poor people depend” (Anderson and Hidayat 2004:10). Specifically, their publicity and advocacy efforts had helped protect rural communities against illegal logging in Sorong (West Papua), Makassar (South Sulawesi), North Sumatra, Nangroe, Aceh Darussalam, South Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, Bengkulu, Lampung, Jambi, and Central Java.
The success of the project reached beyond just prevention of illegal encroachment and logging. It also helped support calls for granting communities more management authority over local forests. The independent evaluators found that photos and videos, including interviews with villagers, had helped persuade authorities in several provinces of the rights and management abilities of local communities, and aided local groups in their efforts to secure more favorable forest tenure and management rights (Anderson and Hidayat 2004:13).
The trainees themselves seemed satisfied with their accomplishments. In a questionnaire, 11 of 13 activists trained by EIA and Telapak reported that their subsequent campaigns “had had a direct impact at the village level.” One of the benefits was greater activism and solidarity within and among communities around the issue of forest use. In several cases, a group of villages had agreed to work together to protect their local forest from illegal logging.
“A film tells a story better than a printed campaign, it reaches more people,” commented Rama Astraatmaja, of Javabased ARuPA, one of the biggest NGOs to receive the video training. “Many homes in Indonesian villages these days have video recorders. Our films tell villagers stories about people with similar situations from other villages. This is something they do not usually see from TV which creates a solidarity feeling among them. Showing film [about illegal logging or non-timber livelihoods] always sparks a discussion. They start to talk about what they have seen, and they