Telling our stories well

Telling our stories well

Nondumiso Jwara of the AIDS Office and CRS partners from other organisations attended a training from 15 to 19 September 2013 on creative writing and photography.

The aim of the training was to capacitate CRS partners in documenting the good work that is being done in the three countries that were represented, Botswana; South Africa and Swaziland.

Dr Ruth Stark facilitated the first two days. The training focused on preparing participants to write brief stories of events, innovative programs, a person doing life-changing work, a partner doing something unique or a story of people who have benefited as well as testimonies.

The advantage of personalised stories in strengthening project reports and project proposals was discussed in depth.

Participants wrote “Elevator” stories, which were shared in groups. “Paragraph” spotlight stories were also written and shared in pairs. Guidelines on writing effective stories were used to critique these stories in the bigger group.

Examples of good (some from the SACBC website) and weak writing were shared.

Nathan, a trainer at Nikon covered the camera features and specifications as well as the basic elements of photography, which are aperture, shutter speed, ISO, brightness of light, focus, sharpness, clarity, exposure, colour, depth and image detail. The cameras were then programmed so that they take clear, focussed photos of usable quality and size.

Fiona Peake from Nikon covered the practical part of photography and gave pointers on how to tell stories through photography. This included the history of photography, photographs that have changed the course of history, the work of renowned photographers, ethics in photography and tips on how to tell a story through photographs. Tips on the use of colour, proportion, orientation and camera angles to emphasise a subject were also presented.