Polycom Development (Kenya) pointed out that girls go home and talk about what they learn at sport and life skills sessions, which results in getting parents’ support for the programmes and also often results in younger siblings wanting to attend. The strongest voice in engaging with the community, and the most important voice, is that of the girl participants themselves.
As part of Women Win’s strategy to empower girls and young women to be leaders in their communities, Women Win has developed a Digital Storytelling Toolkit and began implementing training workshops in 2013.
Women Win believes that Digital Storytelling has a unique ability to cultivate leadership potential. Through an intense 5-day DST workshop, Women Win equips girls and young women with technical skills, knowledge, and opportunities to share their personal stories of transformation through sport. These may include the challenges they faced, how they overcame them, and the impact sport has had in their lives. In telling/sharing their stories, participants create a sense of ownership of their experiences, discover how much experience and learning they have in common with others, advance solidarity and understanding, and ultimately become visible change-agents in their communities. It is for this reason that DST is an important aspect to Women Win’s community engagement strategy. Visit Women Win’s DST Platform to hear the stories of young women around the world.
For more information about DST workshops, please contact Learn@womenwin.org.
Community engagement for girls’ sport programmes can be a difficult endeavour. On the one hand, it is essential that on some level the community be involved in the planning and implementation of a programme, if that programme is to be sustainable. On the other hand, in many contexts, the simple fact of girls participating in sport is challenging gender norms and, therefore, draws negative reactions from certain community members. As implementers of girls’ sport programmes, we must not forget that participating in sport is often challenging a gender norm, so although we want to engage the community as much as possible in order to change perceptions and create sustainability, our first duty is to the safety and rights of the girls. We must be careful that the girls’ voices are not drowned out in the process of engaging the rest of the community.
Many of the organisations consulted in writing this section cited that the most important community group for the success of their programmes is the girls themselves. The girls not only support each other and bring more girl participants into the programme, but also spread information and knowledge to their peers, classmates, and families.
Digital Storytelling (DST) is a workshop-based methodology that focuses on the everyday person’s ability to share aspects of their life story. It is grounded in the storytellers’ control over the medium – words, images and audio – so that the process of learning and production is as powerful for the storyteller as the end product is for the audience. Using formal storytelling tools can be a powerful way to engage the community and for girls to have their voices heard. Digital and audio storytelling are powerful methods in which girls learn to tell their own stories, edit them, and add media. If girls are proud of these stories and want to share them, it can be a great tool for a programme’s community engagement strategy with media, community leaders, parents and caregivers, and other stakeholders.