The Facilitator’s Tale by Kelvin Gwuma

Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have disappeared on the horizon.’ Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.” – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho 

As days go by, we meet people who bring us closer to our dreams, through mentorship, collaboration, skills development and nurturing our talents and passions into excellent tools to serve mankind. Being part of DRIVE Network made me realize it’s people who build people. In February 2021, I was privileged to join other participants in training on facilitating digital storytelling organized by Digitales; this was meant to transform me from the lay Storyteller I was to competent digital storytelling facilitator.

With no prior experience, I was introduced to the world of Digital Storytelling facilitation – a clear picture of a teacher standing in front of the classroom giving instructions for students to execute was painted in my mind, thence from I realized it was an exciting journey to take. On a chilly Saturday morning, the 20th February 2021 at Shalom hotel Ngong in the outskirts of Nairobi, my journey began. Outside the hotel noise is emanating from the hassle of busy city commuters trying to catch the morning buses, while inside, I in the company of my co-facilitators Scola and Joseph, am eager for the training. Thereafter we are introduced to the idea of a virtual training. Out of excitement Joseph and I do the set-up of equipment and we are ready to begin. Tricia and Jess are already in the virtual space despite it being very early in the morning in their respective countries. The goal is to awaken the storytellers in us and in turn we train others in our respective communities.

Kelvin, Joseph and Scola hard at work at the Shalom

Joseph and Scola enjoying some down time in the Shalom gardens

As the training sessions proceed, I become more aware of what it takes to be a Digital storytelling facilitator. Apart from the soft skills of how to prepare, script, read the stories, emphasis was put on improving my photography skills and customizing the digital stories to suit the different settings and purposes, including websites and screening. Furthermore, our trainers used interactive and participatory approaches periodically letting us come up with solutions and providing one where they could. By the end of the third day, we had developed beautiful digital stories through working together and listening to each other. As such three Digital storytelling facilitators were born.

Fast forward, on 14th April I had the privilege to train Stephen Kipkemboi, Aldrine Kagai and Robert Ong’ai in how to develop digital stories. At first, I was nervous, having followed Joseph’s workshop on the same in Nairobi, the bar was set high and I couldn’t imagine having a successful facilitation of my workshop. I remember that morning, reminding myself everything has its first time and because I had a better teacher (Tricia) I told myself this too will turn out to be better. Our training took place at SAIDE Community library, the library is next to a highway and every day we have to cope up with noise from the moving vehicles. I had three participants as mentioned above.

We started the training by sharing our experiences with storytelling and everything fell in place as we moved on. The positivity of the participants towards the training was encouraging, they were very happy to have worked on the Ipad and most importantly were grateful to DRIVE for donating the Ipad after the training.

From introduction to storytelling, experiences with storytelling to script writing and voice recording, the participants agreed it was a fascinating exercise to adopt. I followed ‘my teacher’s’ style of training storytellers and by the end of the fourth day all the participants agreed to continue with digital story-telling.

Kelvin with Aldrine, Robert and Stephen at the completion of the Chavakali workshop

Now, as a facilitator I loved each moment with the participants. I gained a lot of knowledge in the process, learning that facilitation is about patience, listening to each other, believing in your participants, talking to each other and giving your audience a chance to take lead on some subjects.

 

As I conclude, I extend my gratitude to Digitales for giving us the best training, DRIVE for this opportunity, Jess for your support and feedback, Joseph and Scola for your moral support and Bronwen and Tricia for your tireless support, you are the living definition of people who build people. Finally, be on the lookout for more stories from SAIDE and our lovely participants.

 

 

 

 

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