My story is a freedom song of struggle. It is about finding one’s purpose, how to overcome fear and to stand up for causes bigger than one’s self.Coretta Scott King
The answers we get to the questions we have asked give us fragments, parts of a jigsaw puzzle. It’s always best if people can tell their own stories in a compelling way, but writing for an audience is a skill that not everyone has.
There are many resources (and courses) online on story-telling. We have listed some below. But in general, it’s a good idea to return to your personas and think about how your youth club will tell your written, audio or video stories.
No one has much time, so each story you tell should:
- Catch the reader from the first line. Ensure that the first line they read makes them want to read the second. Which of these lines makes you want to keep reading?
- My name is Tafa, and I was born in Nairobi in 2008.
- Coming to Chidi’s Cooking Club has changed my life, and I’d like to tell you how.
- Focus on the details that will interest your audience, and offer explanations for local things they might not understand if they are essential to the story.
- Keep it short!
- Use engaging subheadings to lead them through the text if it is longer. Most of us skim-read a long piece of writing to see whether it is worth our time to read in detail.
- Think about how they are reading it – if it’s on their phone remember how much scrolling that would be!
- Make sure they can share it easily if they are inspired!
- Make sure you proofread! Simple mistakes make you look unprofessional.
Audio Stories – Sharing African Voices
If you have an audience that struggles to read but has access to Whatsapp, you can always share information and stories as a voice note. Otherwise, follow the rules above! No one listens to 7-minute messages!
Photos and Videos that empower women
It’s always good to have photos! A picture speaks a 1000 words! Videos can also appeal to audiences in powerful ways. The next section will explore how to represent your projects and stories through photos and videos.
- Find a story that you have used before from your youth project and read it. Evaluate it against the checklist above.
- Rewrite the story with a specific audience in mind (or a new audience, if you are confident in the previous version), and make sure you consider all the points above.
- Ask a friend or another youth worker for feedback.
You might also be interested in
- Storytelling | Immigrants Rising (immigrantsrising.org)
- Storytelling for Social Change | Future Learn (futurelearn.com)
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