It has been a year like no other, but I am very grateful to all network members and project partners for making it possible for us to continue with the project, adapting to the ‘new normal’ and hopefully forming some collaborations and friendships that we can take forward.
The last month of the project proved especially hectic as we held 3 workshops in 3 different locations in Kenya over the course of two weeks, facilitated by Joseph (Nairobi), Kelvin (Chavakali) and Scola (Loita). We have some wonderful reflections on the process from Kelvin and one of our participants from Nairobi, Alan, here on the blog. This was followed by postproduction work on the stories, with Joseph Odhiambo and Tricia pulling out all the stops with support from Kelvin, Scola and Jess (subtitling and translation).
You will find some further reflections on the storytelling phase of the project in both the Toolkit and the Project Evaluation (in the Resources section), particularly how we adapted the digital storytelling methods for online delivery, but also to ensure that we worked with the facilitators to adapt to local contexts and their rich traditions of storytelling. One thing I have learned this year is that the stories are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the digital storytelling process, the interactions that take place between participants as they work together and get to grips with the technology, and the sheer momentum that builds as we work to tight deadlines contribute so much to the overall experience. We have tried to capture as much of this process as possible through photographs and video recordings. Here are just a couple of examples from the workshops of the participants reflecting on the impact of technology on their reading.
Lots of stories are also shared in the workshops that never make it to the final edit. Here is Lisa sharing some background on the traditional lamp that features in her story.
We hope to keep in touch with our participants and to see what use they will make of their iPads over the coming months and years.
The workshops certainly provided a fitting finale for this project. Of course, it was our hope that this would be the first phase of a longer project that would allow us to build on the establishment of our network to develop further research and methods to benefit readers in Kenya and other parts of Africa. Unfortunately cuts to the UK overseas development budget have put paid to that for the time being, but let’s see what the future may bring. After the year we have just lived through, anything is possible, and when we reflect, I hope we can all take heart that we have come through safe and well and having delivered on what we set out to do.