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Need to explain a project? Why not use a story!

October 21, 2015 | Blog-Admin1 | Let's Talk Visual |

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NadiaIn our work we are confronted with many issues. Some are easy to explain, others need more words. A good way forward is sharing a story. Stories have the force to illustrate complex issues naturally. The images and voices you have in your mind make our sharing and learning more concrete, lively and contextual than a report can do.

Nadia von Holzen, SDC

In our work we are confronted with many issues. Some are easy to explain, others need more words. Sometimes we have to say more to make a challenge understandable. We first have to describe an initiative, a situation, or a project before we can discuss specific questions.

Imagine you are invited as advisor for shared learning to comment a network initiative about small scale artisanal mining in Mongolia. Exactly this happened to me. I know something about network development; I had no clue about small scale artisanal mining – at least not till two weeks before I received the mentioned invitation.

My chance was that I saw the digital story Tuvshin Following the Veins created by Soyolmaa Dolgor. Soyolmaa tells the story of Tuvshin, a Mongolian artisanal miner in pursuit of gold and a better livelihood.

Tuvshin Following the Veins by Soyolmaa Dolgor, 2015, 3’55

A digital story is a 2-4 minute multi-media narrative that can be built with photographs, video clips, drawings and other artwork, ambient sound and a recorded voice-over.
Darcy Alexandra

With this 4′ video I gained a basic understanding about the network’s issue: small scale artisanal mining in Mongolia. And with the images of Tuvshin and Soyolmaa’s voice in mind my advisory work about network development was not only more concrete and lively it also saved me time to read a lengthy and rather dry report to understand the bigger picture.

Often we come faster and easier to the point when we share pictures or a story. Stories carry our learning. They have a force to transport messages across much easier.

This is one of the reasons why Learning & Networking organised a digital storytelling workshop this summer for SDC staff (see how we produced our stories or why do we love storytelling). And Soyolmaa Dolgor, communication specialist at the Swiss Cooperation Office in Mongolia, joined this 3-days workshop.

How are you integrating storytelling in our work to make sharing and learning richer and deeper?

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Comments to“Need to explain a project? Why not use a story!”


  1. Alfonso Flores says:

    In Central America and Latin America storytelling is becoming more and more use as a tool to, not only inform about results, but to motivate changes in the field. Thank you a lot for this Bunch of fresh air!

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  2. Nadia von Holzen says:

    Many thanks Alfonso and the whole Redcolatina team for your inspiration!
    Nadia

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