Planning Advances around Innovative Storytelling Training

PSYDEH knows that our future capacity to make sustainable impact rests, in part, on our ability to tell true and compelling stories.

PSYDEH workshop on “Individual & Communal Autonomy”, October 2014, Huehuetla, Hidalgo. *Photo by Damon Taylor

Since mid-2014, storytelling sits at the core of our work. For example, PSYDEH uses the locally understood tree metaphor to explain to the outside world how our multi-year scalable program model produces social impact. We invite women partners’ to use the same to communicate with each other their thoughts about women-led, rights-based community development (RIGHT).

Or, with our late-2016 animated video, produced by PSYDEH German collaborator Dr. Andre Stoffel, we experiment using rudimentary technology-based art to weave an easier-to-understand story for potential donors about our bottom-up oriented work.

More recently, this early-2018 project promotional video produced by PSYDEH collaborator and professional photographer Diogo Heber invites global citizens to learn how we link our bottom-up empowerment model to combatting political violence against women. And, with our ongoing series Voces Femininas, co-produced with Diogo, we encourage indigenous women to do the “inviting” by sharing in their own words their thoughts about their work and challenges.

Otomí leaders in a PSYDEH workshop titled “Women as Citizen Leaders”, November 2017, San Bartolo Tutotepec, Hidalgo.  *Photo by Diogo Heber

Why? We—our staff, women partners and donors—are human beings. And humans connect, collaborate, and produce change through the stories we tell, knowing that the most personal is the most universal, best received when we are comfortable in one other’s “living room.”

Seth Godin, Carl Rogers and Paul Ricoeur remind us of these truths. PSYDEH lives them.

Diogo states, “I believe that if a story is well told in image, it can bring the subject in the image and the audience closer, creating a needed  conversation between all when there would have been nothing but for the image.” 

And so it is logical and important that our network of women leaders strengthen their understanding of that which we are learning, and experience what it is to tell a compelling, truthful story about who they are and what they want, for their communities and themselves.

Whether through text, photo or film (many women partners are functionally illiterate), Katie Freund, co-designer of PSYDEH’s storytelling training curriculum, states that “the stories that we tell ourselves and others determine how we live our lives: our choices, words, and actions. I think it is essential that we empower our partners to communicate their truth in an intimate, compelling way, not only for their community work, but also as an important step in making changes in their own daily lives.”

Strategic planning for our cutting-edge narrative training initiative is underway; the work funded by 100s of global citizens via our GlobalGiving crowdfunding campaign “Educate Indigenous Women Leaders to Defeat Poverty” will begin in late-summer 2018.

Here, PSYDEH offers a multi-phased series of workshops (RIGHT), including values-celebrating training, while co-creating with women their own personal, NGO and collective stories. The initiative will end with (a) their presenting their stories at a regional public forum for indigenous men, women and youth and government officials and (b) using the stories as a key part of our pursuit for new friends and resources.