The article I chose to talk about today is The Power of Community Storytelling. This is a wonderful article that talks about exactly what the title says.. the power of community storytelling. The basic premise behind this article is that sometimes, it is the cumulative stories of many people in a community that tell the true tale. The author highlights the death and violence in Kenya after the 2007 presidential election. The president tried to keep each incident that happened separate so that the world wouldn’t piece together the horrific events that were occurring. However, when individuals began telling their stories, the world started taking notice of what was going on.
Bloggers and software developers, who knew what was going on, got together and created the site Ushahidi. It became a platform for the community to share their stories in whatever format they could. They could upload photos, videos, even written accounts. Through this platform, the world got to witness the bigger picture (Ushahidi means witness in Swahili).
What I really like about this article is that the author talks about how powerful stories and how if you can get people to see things and change their mind about something, you have the power to change the world. It also shows that while storytelling might be personal for the storyteller, these stories are a way to connect disparate people together. Stories also help people gain experiences that are completely foreign to them, allowing them to experience them almost first hand.
Interestingly, as I have mentioned many times in previous posts (maybe to get a little sympathy?) I am working on my capstone for my master’s degree in Public Administration. My project deals with community engagement. My research is looking at how nonprofits engage their stakeholders/community in order to create a stronger organization, one that that meets the needs of its community and is sustainable. One of the suggestions I cam across was for the organization to incorporate storytelling. My final deliverable for my client is going to be a community engagement strategy with the top 3-5 items they can look at implementing right away. I definitely see digital storytelling being one of them.
For a little background, they provide arts education to children and teens, both through after school/summer programs, and through artist in residence programs in the schools. One of the ideas I am thinking of is for them to contact past students and have them tell their story about how the arts program affected them. And the more I look at other digital story formats and creations, the more ideas I get on how to make it a cohesive story as opposed to a bunch of videos posted on YouTube. And this would be an excellent example of the power of community storytelling.
I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. If you were someone who had money or time to donate, what would you like to see that would want you to engage with this type of organization?