Friday, January 24, 2014

Facilitating storytelling through the Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf

Last week I facilitated a workshop with the aim to harvest funny fictional stories. I applied the facilitation method of the ‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf’.   After sharing the story of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, I explained the main characteristics of a good story.
Definition of a story: A story is a representation of events that are associated with each other. A story has the following characteristics:
·         Is self-explanatory and has a beginning, middle and end;
·         Contains narrative elements;
·         Is authentic: true or true-ish;
·         Is personal;
·         Calls on emotions and / or is told with emotion.

Narrative elements are:
1.       A main character (protagonist): A (anti) hero with whom the listener or reader can identify;
2.       A storyline; chronological sequence of events, which includes
3.       A plot: development, wrestle, dilemmas;
4.       An  "opponent" (antagonist), a negative factor that the hero stands in the way;
5.       A 'helper' or 'supporter', a positive factor that supports the hero.

After sharing the characteristics of a story, I asked participants to brainstorm their heros and their opponents.  In groups of three participants selected a hero and an opponent and developed their story.
Helpful sentences that supported the development of the stories, were:
1.       Once upon a time there was…………  (the person/ hero)
2.       And as always ………..  (describe a beautiful situation, as things are going smoothly)
3.       Until a day ……. (here the problem or the wrestling starts in the story, the opponent appears in the story)
4.       Thereby, and thereby and  and thereby ………   (make the situation worse and worse …..)
5.       Whereby …… (here the story comes to a climax, the final stage has started)
6.       They lived happily ever after
7.       If needed, add a moral to the story

Storytelling as a tool for organizational change
The session created fun, laughter and relaxed atmosphere in the group.  In the reflection phase we concluded that storytelling is an excellent tool for teambuilding or organizational change session. You can do it before discussing the main issues in organizational development. For example formulating the ‘Values and Beliefs’ of the organization.  But you can also apply it after thorough discussions on how the organization should move forward.  For example symbolizing the intended change in a funny and symbolic story.

Storytelling is also excellent as a tool for:
  • Participatory video;
  • Monitoring and evaluation;
  • Branding and advertisement;
  • Knowledge transfer and education;
  • Dialogue between stakeholders in institutional change processes.

For your inspiration, a story that was generated from the Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf

The cat and the mouse
Once upon a time there were a mouse and a cat. The cat said 'I am going to eat you!. I am hungry!'  The mouse said.  I am poisoned. If you are going to eat me, you will die. My death will be your death. So you either choose or  you will tolerate my presence and enjoy the games you will play with me.  Or you die!  The cat thought, the mouse was fooling him. The cat decided to catch the mouse and enjoyed the meal the fullest.  Unfortunately, the mouse was right. The cat started to feel unwell and caught a heavy fever. The house boss saw the cat crying.  Help me! I am going to die. Please call an animal doctor.  When the animal doctor came, the cat was crying. Help me, please help me!  I was wrong to eat a mouse.  The animal doctor listened to the stomach of the cat, and heard a mouse crying. Help me out! I am still alive.  If you help me, you help the cat.  The doctor took the words of the mouse serious.  He advised the cat to vomit!  Vomit, vomit!  This will help you.  The cat decided to cough deeply. And again deeply. After vomiting three times, the mouse came out!  A relief entered the cat. The fever was gone!  The mouse looked the cat in the eyes!  I told you!  If I will die, you will die.  The cat said sorry! I was greedy and just thinking of myself.  You were right. I have to listen more carefully and appreciate what is there!  Shall we become playmates?  The cat said 'I accept your apologies.  Do you promise me not to do this ever again?  The cat nodded. I promise, said the cat!  They shook hands and became friends for their lifetimes.

Training on Facilitation of Storytelling
If you want to obtain and acquire more tools in facilitating storytelling, read more at  the course schedule ‘Facilitation of Storytelling’  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Dialogue on social accountability through participatory video – 7 steps

From 16th to 20th December, 2013 Simon Koolwijk conducted a participatory video training for 10 representatives from 5 social accountability implementing partners in the Ethiopian Social Accountability Programme (ESAP2). This program aims to improve the communication and relations between local stakeholders such as local government (Woredas and Kebeles), civil society organisations, local citizens groups and service providers in the areas of health care, agriculture, water and sanitation, education and rural road construction. The process of better communication aims to help to improve the services of service providers (the suppliers) so that citizens needs (the users) are being met. The participatory video was initiated to help to stimulate and support the dialogue on social accountability and the improvement of social services.
In the one week training, participants got the opportunity to apply participatory video in Gulele Sub City, where they interviewed key stakeholders working on health service improvement in their community.  You can watch the participatory videomaking process in 7 steps.  

The training was received with great enthousiasm. The method inspired the participants to conduct participatory videomaking in their own organization and embed it in their monitoring and evaluation systems. The 5 participating organisations have planned participatory videomaking interventions in their programmes. They will implement their interventions between January and march, 2014.