Community narratives – training reporters in effective story telling for behavior change
Over the last two months, h2n has been training community radio reporters in Sofala, Zambezia, Nampula and Cabo Delgado provinces in effective story telling within the general context of journalism and the more specific context of gender equality and women’s issues. Building so-called “community narratives” and transforming common situations into powerful stories, the reporters are able to connect more directly and more strongly with their listeners.
“We practice a narrative sequence in seven steps that takes us from problem definition to reflection to outcome,” explains Rui Lamarques, who prepared and supervised the trainings. “We are looking to crack the code on how to create behavior change,” says Sergio Chusane, h2n executive director. “Understanding the context and the lived reality of people better and sharing their stories more effectively are key parts of that process.”
Some existing behavior change processes and materials do not consider the recipients enough but places a greater emphasis on conveying theory than on generating change. “We would like to change the information overload that we sometimes see now to more targeted and effective methods [of behavior change communication],” says Chusane and emphasizes that community narratives are particularly effective to address social norms and sensitive topics.
h2n, which is primarily supported by Norway, works extensively with community radios, produces community videos, broadcasts the “Saude e Vida” television program on health and wellness, facilitates youth engagement hubs and pursues a rapidly expanding gender equality agenda.