Using digital storytelling to measure the impact of social services! – Sopot, 20th October

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Using digital storytelling to measure the impact of social services!

From the 19th to 21th of October 2022, SNDE – Stowarzyszenie Na Drodze Ekspresji together with COSV organized a meeting about “Using digital storytelling for measuring impact” within the Erasmus + project “Narratives of Impact (NOI)”. The workshop disseminated the idea of using digital storytelling for measuring impact and allowed testing activities with stakeholders in planning, implementing and evaluating social impact measurement. 

The participants met in the Don Quixote Academy in Sopot, a new place on the social map which is located at al. Niepodległości 829. The main goal of the academy where people and their stories meet is to create a place for inclusion, a dialogic atmosphere and conditions for recovery and self-development for people with mental health problems. The Academy supports independent life, which is expressed in respect and the development of opportunities to fulfil social and professional roles.

The Academy offers services and activities based on the real needs of the participants, and it’s open from 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., inviting people to club activities, including art therapy, culinary, recreational and sports classes. In the academy, people can find a support group for people who are experiencing mental crises and a self-help group of mental health educators. Within the academy also opened the Don Kichot Art Gallery, which promotes outsider artists’ arts and plans to start running an art class painting. During the meeting, participants could become acquainted with Nicolas Szopinski’s paintings, who participated also in the workshop of the Narratives of Impact project. For the workshops we thought not of a random conference room, but rather a place that delivers social services like Don Kichot Academy.

The meeting was dedicated to people working with people with special needs. There were representatives of self-help clubs, participants from Chrzan House, Don Kichot Academy, Przyjazna Dłoń and other professionals working in the social sector like personal assistants. We asked them to invite and come up with social service users. Finally, we learned again that for planning measurement impact in the social sector, we have to carefully take into account the needs of people. 

The workshops were led by Aleksandra Pakólska, Piotr Harhaj SNDE and Marco Schiavini from COSV. In the beginning, Piotr Harhaj introduced the participants to the assumptions of the NOI project and the idea of digital storytelling. 

The participants learned about digital storytelling and what channels we can use for digital storytelling. We know that:

  • the digital world helps us to strengthen our voices and inspire others to change.
  • allows us to involve people in our communities, and help them live a mission or a vision. 

But most important is that people can use stories in many ways, all of which have the potential to create a change in people’s hearts or minds.

At the beginning of the meeting, we spent some time building relationships and creating the atmosphere. After the coffee break, we spent some time on practical exercises, such as “Human Spark”, and “My Social Pentagon”. The exercises were aimed at breaking the ice, getting to know each other better, triggering reflection on the issues raised during the presentation, as well as reflection on the immediate environment/people and services that the participants live during their everyday life.

The first part of the workshop ended with a Journey Story exercise aimed at getting to know each other better in the group, making the participants reflect on the events that happen to them and introducing them to telling personal stories. 

The participants shared their stories as “journeys” in which meetings, events, people and places played an important role. In the summary, Aleksandra pointed out how “measuring the impact” sounded in these stories – how these stories could examine the impact of the described events on the storytellers. It was a strong accent before the lunch break and the start of a hands-on workshop on digital storytelling used to measure impact.  

In the second part of the meeting, participants planned to measure the impact with video or audio instruments. The task was to plan storytelling using the presented tools and distribution channels. Some of the people used the Journey story experience, and some worked on a specific service, process, etc. 

It was wonderful to discover again that people like to share stories which are meaningful for them and that being hearable is important. At the end of this 2-day meeting, some of the participants recorded a reflective interview, answering the following questions:

  • My impressions after the workshop
  • What did I like about the workshop? Was it helpful? 
  • What have I found out during this workshop?

Recording people’s stories of lived experiences using digital tools can help to collect important and rich anecdotal data. This can be used to see how well a service, an organization or a project, is performing and measure the impact of it and its success. This can help people who use the service to voice their opinions about it. They can:

• express themself and voice their concerns, opinions, etc.

• inspire others through a sharing of human lived experience.

• connect with different groups of people.

• discover and unite multiple voices.

The participants explained the need to practice more about digital tools and how to use them.

Piotr Harhaj

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