Stories of Change

For the Climate Smart Agriculture project in Malawi our project team chose a monitoring and evaluation method based on personal stories and experiences of change, alongside a quantitative data survey. With the help of InsightShare I organised a story collection system, facilitated a story workshop training for our project coordinators and helped analyse the incoming stories. The use of Participatory Video (PV) and the Most Significant Change (MSC) technique provided qualitative data in the form of stories and short films written and directed by the farmers themselves.

In order to enable farmers, many of them illiterate, to use video recording equipment, a series of ‘baseline’ PV workshops have been facilitated in the areas where our project coordinators have been working since the start of CSA. The farmers were guided through storytelling, storyboarding and filming exercises to learn the techniques fast and be able to develop their own film ideas. Those stories were screened at village screenings. Already they have caused much inspiration and entertainment amongst local farming groups. Equipped with filmmaking skills, the farmers were then engaging in the Stories of Change process during 1-day story workshops.

 Here they shared stories of change about how their life was effected while being part of the CSA programme. Together we were looking at the different domains of change that came up in those stories, be it food security, climate change, acquiring of new skills etc.

After the farmers had written down their stories of change by answering a precise question, they chose the Most Significant Change story via a secret vote. The winning MSC stories were then storyboarded and turned into short films. All the other stories were collected and categorised into domains of change.

Our aim for the whole M&E phase was to gather around 200 stories, ca. 15% of the total of participating farmers. In the end we gathered 278 stories in total and a number of films were created from those stories that were voted ‘most significant’.

Those films can be seen in this VIMEO CHANNEL.

We used the same research question in all 14 workshops and we facilitated women-only workshops to cross check validity in the stories. The coordinators encouraged farmers to think about positive as well as negative changes and made sure they felt comfortable to voice criticism and problems.

Please get in touch if you want to know more about Participatory Video facilitation or how it can be used as a Monitoring and Evaluation tool, especially in connection with international development projects! I’m an associate with InsightShare, the leading Participatory Video facilitation and training organisation in the UK.

Client Climate Futures, The James Hutton Institute, Kusamala