Digital stories are powerful narratives combining images with first hand accounts of people most affected by the topic at hand, in this case the ongoing impact of landmines in post-conflict Mozambique. Since many of the most affected areas are away from urban centres, these views and voices are sometimes forgotten. During four participatory workshops survivors, those who have lost family members to landmines, and communities affected by agricultural loss told their stories of living with the affects of landmines. The resulting 28 stories were produced as photo digital stories on DVD, and recast as audio testimonials for radio stations, and distributed to 30 community stations across the country.
Link to other CMFD work
CMFD did four workshops in which participants from the community recorded and produced a series of personal narratives that were distributed widely to demonstrate the ongoing human impact of landmines. Key points were as follows.
- 4 participatory workshops were held in various locations in landmine/ UXO affected areas.
- The participatory process includes the use of oral testimony and images, in a process known as digital story making. This methodology helps the community members, who may or may not be literate, to tell their stories of how landmines have affected them in their own words. Stories will be recorded in five local languages.
- addition to the oral testimonies, the workshops resulted in digital stories, which combine audio and images, such as drawings or photos. These can be screened publicly, or used for training and advocacy purposes.
- We included 1 or 2 journalists, who did reports and spots, so that there is a mix of media on the CD.
- The audio is being distributed to community radio stations across the country, accompanied by a guide for presenters and trainers to help them use the oral testimonies for discussion and awareness-raising, and provide a starting point for developing their own stories.
- The digital stories are also available for advocacy and training purposes.
This approach is ideal, as it allows those who have been affected to offer a “warning” to others. Because people are listening to people who are very much like them, they can learn from others’ experiences. It is also a way to remind people, like government or NGOs who need to care for landmine survivors, about the human voices of those affected.
People share their stories generally first. They then be use images to develop their story. This includes drawing images, or using a digital camera that CMFD has on hand. For example, a person who lost family to a landmine may opt to take an image of an item that used to belong to that person. Someone may choose to photograph crops, to talk about the land being lost to landmines. Another may choose to draw a memory from the past. This process helps people to tell different aspects of their stories. The images assist with the storytelling.
With CMFD equipment, participants recorded their stories, as they see fit, in their own words. Part of this process was to ensure that the stories reflect different aspects of landmines, for example:
- living with a disability;
- loss of agricultural land and livelihood
- growing up without a father because of landmines
- positive impacts of mine clearance operations
This process also encouraged all of the participants to be mutually supportive, as these stories where sometimes painful. An assistant helped participants place the images to their voices, which was viewed by participants on the last day of the workshop. This was a very empowering experience for people. CMFD will then copy and separate the audio from the audio/ visual, edit the voice for sound quality, and produce the audio for radio stations to broadcast on air. The visual stories will be tidied up and editing tightened after the workshop, to ensure quality.
The key focus of the workshops were personal narratives. As much as possible, we invited representatives from nearby radio stations to participate, to develop short spots and reports related to landmines. The various components of the project were packaged for distribution.