UNICEF organizes a multiplatform digital storytelling workshop in Turkmenistan
Crafting a Narrative for Behaviour Change
In a world saturated with information overload, competing noise, and people having an ever-shortening span of attention, how do you make your voice heard? How do you tell a story that not only captures the attention, but makes you stop, think, and inspire and drive home the need for you to make a meaningful change in your life? This is a question we tasked the media experts in Turkmenistan. In Turkmenistan, a group of media professionals and public health representatives found the answer through a workshop that embraced the art of storytelling in the digital age, making it fun, engaging, and inspiring new approaches.
From August 16th to 18th, a motley crew of individuals, including national media, young freelance journalists, and social media influencers gathered for a three-day multiplatform digital storytelling workshop, organized by the office of UNICEF in Turkmenistan. UNICEF implemented this workshop under the framework of Turkmenistan’s COVID-19 Response Project funded by the World Bank.
Guiding them on this journey was Akim Mogaji, a name that echoes expertise in media production, training, and mentoring, across the globe, from Africa, Europe, the America’s, and no stranger to Turkmenistan. With an aura of knowledge built over years in crafting innovative media content, Akim's phenomenal stage presence set the stage for a wonderful and immersive experience.
Day One: Unravelling the Threads of Storytelling
On the first day, the participants explored the nuances of digital storytelling in a very informal, fun and relaxed atmosphere. Through the lenses of humour, emotions, and credibility, digging deep, and looking for what can truly resonate with people, the participants embarked on a journey to understand the heartbeat of effective narratives. Laughter and deep reflections mingled in the air combined with heightened chitter chatter at coffee break time as they delved into the art of captivating audiences, even within the confines of a tight timeframe.
In this creative challenge, the participants laid the foundation for multiplatform storytelling, a vessel for societal impact and risk communication.
Day Two: Forging Collaborative Creation
With the second day came a shift in the narrative, as participants transformed from explorers into creators. The workshop space fizzed and buzzed with the combined energy of collaboration fuelled by the diversity of talent and platform experience as the cohort was divided into three groups, each tasked with crafting a digital story board and content project. A convergence of minds from varied backgrounds - Ministry of Health officials, State Committee for TV members, digital writers, copywriters, illustrators, social media influencers, photographers, web designers—formed teams that promised an eclectic blend of perspectives, views, opinions – but a shared passion, driven, and motivated pattern.
Akim Mogaji provided the necessary hints, insights, and challenges for creating multiplatform content that resonated with digital natives. The participants had 24 hours to bring their visions into reality. In the process, they melded ideas, words, and visuals to create stories that would leave a lasting impact.
"Today we saw some perfect examples of how digital illustrations combined with sounds can tell an emotional story. I found not just knowledge, but inspiration. As we delved into the tapestry of storytelling, I learned that every stroke and every word has the power to shape worlds" said Shirin Begmyradova, Freelance Illustrator from Ashgabat.
Day Three: Unveiling of Digital Masterpieces
On the final day, the three groups unveiled their digital product - narratives that transcended screens, ready to make their mark on diverse platforms and communities. One showed an incredible new concept in design and art form, another an exceptional ability to captivate a storyline across all separate platforms of print, video, post, and radio, and the other an incredible approach worthy of a private sector start up candidate.
Each of the presentations was unique and impressive. From the pixelated dance of illustrations to the lyrical narratives, each creation was a testament to the participants' newfound skills and inspiration. These digital products, infused with the essence of the workshop's teachings, were poised to make their way into the hearts and minds of the population.
“It is amazing that my photographs are already a digital product that can have a big impact when telling the story. In 24 hours we came up with sustainable fashion idea to encourage the locals to consume less clothes, but instead to use the vintage outfits or redesign their grandmother’s clothes for more sustainable future. We presented our project, and our group was nominated as the best entrepreneurial idea.” said Bahar Begniyazova, Freelance Photographer from Lebap velayat.
This UNICEF-led initiative didn't just equip media practitioners with new skills—it cultivated a community of storytellers who held the keys to unlocking the meaningful change.