Writing Your Story: Diving Deeper and Being Honest
On 18-19 December, the Civic Engagement Alliance (CEA) partners in Indonesia participated in a two-day training on Stories of Change, facilitated by the TEMPO Institute and hosted by Penabulu Foundation. Kiswara Santi, Program Manager of CEA Indonesia, shares her thoughts on the workshop with this blog post.
“It’s not easy to write a story of change. As a social worker, I work together with the people. I used to hear stories and tended to ask more about their version of facts, doubts and problems. I also used to write reports for donors based on their templates and it was good for our accountability. Over these two days, I enjoyed writing stories of change because it makes me listen to what happened with the people. I am writing the changes where I am part one of the change makers too”, said Adi Nugroho from Penabulu Foundation.
Senior news editor and journalist of 30 years and the Executive Director at TEMPO Institute, Mardiyah Chamim, was the lead facilitator for the two-day training. She stressed the importance of telling strong human stories beyond the project scope or reporting cycle. A good report highlights the project’s implementation and funding accountability, but a strong human story explains the changes that humans face. It explores the journey that people go through from the problems, the efforts made towards the desired changes and expressive narrative. In Indonesia, history is traditionally told orally, but that is slowly being replaced by a written culture.
The participants who joined the training were ICCO’s partners in humanitarian and development projects, with most coming from the CEA program. From twenty participants with an NGO background, we support the work with humanitarian values and non-profit orientation. Many inspiring values can be found in society and that driving change needs to be exposed for inspiration and lessons learned for others.
Participants were divided into groups, working on a Mind Map to choose the themes of the stories, to work individually on writing, proof reading and receiving critical comments, and simultaneously finishing the stories of change.
“I was touched when Mardiyah asked me to be honest and dive deeper inside the CEA activities and writing my story. It motivates me to find figures from people I worked for and I had time to think. The Lobby Logbook can help me to find my story”, said Keumala Dewi from PKPA Medan.
Stories of Change is one of monitoring & evaluation methods within the CEA program led by ICCO. Stories of Change based on the Lobby Logbook activities, the Lobby and Advocacy work designed by the Theory of Change as a method of planning. Within ICCO, learning is as important as planning, monitoring and evaluation, especially since we are a learning organization.
To understand the Project Management Cycle (Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning), ICCO and partners define what should be learnt from each activity. Kiswara Santi, CEA Indonesia Program Manager said, “We organize people and organizations using a participatory method. We want to learn how to plan better, implement smarter, monitor wiser and evaluate deeper. Personally, I am proud to have my written story edited by Mardiyah Chamim. She coached me to recognize the difference between an important story and an interesting story. I want more people to read interesting and important stories from their neighbours who drive the change for a better community.”