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Mapping Our Success Stories – Updated with Prototype, May 1

Mapping Our Success Stories is a user generated online map whereby women-centered NGO's can post successful models of strategies they have implemented to create safer communities. These success stories would feature first person narratives, allowing women to speak for themselves. The map would also include a story database searchable by geography, topic, or language and features to allow users to take action related to the stories.

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Provide a short description of your idea

Across the globe, women are already creating innovative ways to promote women's safety . How can we learn from one another’s successes? Through Mapping Our Success Stories, users have the opportunity to hear directly from other women across the globe in an engaging, first person narrative model. Women can participate in face to face or online workshops to learn how to create these multimedia narratives which would then be "tagged" to a location on a global online map. Other features of the map would include: - a story database with filters including geography, topic, or language so women can search stories to see, for example, "stories about sanitation in Urdu". - online petitions to allow users to take action on a specific policy related to a story, - a "kickstarter-esque" feature where women can tell stories to crowdsource a project.

Get a user's perspective on your idea.

Our target audience are NGO's across the globe committed to women's rights. We know that not all women have access to the internet but we also know that many representatives or staff from NGO's can serve as liaisons between their communities and the project. We see these liaisons as key in terms of helping to gather and record stories (after training of course), downloading and accessing other groups' stories to screen locally, and connecting with other groups.

Show us what implementation might look like.

Please see the "Details" section below for a multiphase implementation.
Phase One: Mapping Existing Stories
We know that stories are an essential tool to create change.  Mapping Our Success Stories provides women across the world with a way to learn from and to listen to one another. Online mapping technology currently makes it very simple for users to collaborate globally. We would create the infrastructure for a multi-user mapping platform primarily targeting the NGO sector as we recognize that many women across the globe do not have easy access to the internet. 
We propose populating the map with a series of digital success stories (possibly some of the case studies already highlighted through this challenge). There are already many existing digital stories created by women around the world we could start out with to launch the map. The website can include resources for producing new stories, community screenings, developing action plans, integrating stories into campaigns, etc. There are great sites out there for grassroots media production (see Women's Rights Campaigning site) so we can simply link to these existing resources. 

Phase Two: Creating Content
In order to create additional content, interested grassoots organizations could participate in a series of online, participatory media production workshops to create brief, first person video narratives about their initiatives. We can utilize simple methods such as a "snapshot story" model where people record a brief audio story and use a single photo to illustrate it. It would also be possible to run a small number of regional workshops, bringing women from various countries together in a single location to create their own stories and build capacity in digital storytelling methods. These women could then go on to run workshops and collect stories from others in their communities. 

Phase III: The Action
We know that stories inspire action. After launching the site and creating a series of stories, we'd like to see women collaborating to come up with "actions" that people can take after viewing the stories. These could be anything from "get on the NGO mailing list" to "sign a petition around this cause" to "tell your story" to "donate" to "start a similar project or join this cause in your neighborhood". 

The Prototype:
We have started a prototype of a map including some Challenge contributions and our team-member's website, Silence Speaks and US based  examples. This prototype does not include a searchable database and/or other features, but does allow users to listen to stories of women's resistance across the globe.

The primary audience for the project are women's leaders, possibly who work at local NGO's, Community Heath Workers, or women who are more likely to have access to internet. This website and the stories would be used in a facilitated context as indicated in scenarios listed in last question.

My questions for you!
  1. I haven’t found anything like this and would love to see links if others have. The closest I have found is this site, Global Stories,  and the HCD Connect map, which are wonderful. I also saw this map of safe spaces for women to access the internet on the WorldPulse site (might be useful for Challenge participants!). The main difference in our proposal and these pages is that our map would be women focused, user driven, and highlighting first person narratives as opposed to professionally produced documentaries.
  2. Potentially this map could be hosted on an existing portal that already promotes women’s safety and connects NGO’s globally. Any suggestions?
  3. What strategies would you suggest in order to create a multilingual story library? In the past we have used subtitles and multiple voiceovers but I'm interested in what people think is most effective. 
  4. The stories could be downloadable to show offline--as well as distributed via local television stations and/or radio. What are other ways we can make these pieces more accessible to women without internet access? What existing video screening channels could we build on to show stories?
  5. We'd like to track the impact of stories on the local level as well as what it means for women to feel connected to a broader movement across the globe. We'd love to hear your ideas on how to measure impact.

We now have a start of a prototype up. Take a peek!

Explain your idea in one sentence.

Mapping Our Success Stories is a user generated, online, searchable story map for women, NGO's, and allies to post success stories in promoting women's safety and empowerment in urban areas.

What is the need you are trying to solve?

While individual funders often post online maps of their own success stories, we have been unable to identify anything that cuts across funders and specific strategies and connects women globally. Too often women's stories are being told by others -- this StoryMap would allow women to speak for themselves and post their own stories. I believe another need that this idea addresses is the value of stories as a form of data. Many of the ideas on this challenge are crowdsourcing and mapping incidents to track and address trends. We are very interested at the intersection of narrative and quantitative data to better understand the nature of violence and action,

Who will benefit from this idea and how would you monitor its success?

We believe that this type of searchable story map would serve multiple functions: • It would allow women’s groups to connect, learn from one another, and provide them with a resource library of ideas and promotional materials. • It would allow NGO’s a platform to gain a global audience for their work. This could be a valuable way to raise funds or gain support for online petition efforts. We'd love to partner with existing platforms such as AVAAZ. • It would allow funders to see what successful models of promoting women’s safety have remained under the surface. We would monitor success by tracking numbers of new stories posted, numbers of hits, connections made, actions taken as a result of viewing stories, successful online petitions, etc. I think there's a more intangible result that can happen when women feel connected globally and welcome ideas on how to measure success in that respect.

Who would be best equipped to implement this idea in the real world? You? Your organisation? Another organisation or entity?

This project would require the collaboration of multiple partners. We'd be happy to take the lead on the organizational/technical side, but of course it would only work if we had partners on the ground contributing stories and interested in learning how to run storytelling workshops. We have potential partners in several countries but are currently exploring more. I am the co-director of a consulting collaborative specializing the in the strategic use of narrative to support social change effort. We have managed the successful MOVE project in Seattle,, where over 200 multilingual stories have supported multiple policy changes in low-income communities and we have managed a global story bank at Stories for Change, For the past few years, we have added an online model to our digital storytelling workshops so it's entirely feasible to support individuals all over the world in creating their own digital stories using cloud-based video editing software. We have a great team of storytelling trainers, web developers, and mappers all trained in popular education and among us we speak quite a few languages. Also on our team is Amy Hill who runs the exemplary Silence Speaks program and has developed innovative ways to make the key elements of digital storytelling – a focus on personal narrative, group processes, and hands-on production activities relevant in environments around the world where literacy and technology access are low.

Where should this idea be implemented?

Online and globally.

How might you prototype this idea and test some of the assumptions behind it?

I think the most natural way of creating a prototype of this map and developing content is to tap into the networks, case studies, and ideas that have been developed as part of this Challenge. I'd love some of you to add some links below in the comment section and I can start embedding them in a map as a prototype as well. This would provide us with a built-in network and audience as well as an initial cadre of storytellers. Following a beta launch we could conduct a user survey and analytics to determine how to best improve the site.

What might a day in the life of a community member interacting with your idea look like?

Scenario One: Juana works for a local women's center in Santo Domingo that runs women's support groups. They are considering partnering with a startup working on solar energy and looking for women to be trained as workers. They check out the map and search for "solar" and "jobs" and find women's groups in Nigeria and Turkey doing similar work. They watch these women's stories and are able to connect directly with their women's groups. The local NGO decides to move forward with the program and holds a screening for local women to watch the pieces they found on the Mapping Our Success Stories site. Scenario Two: A local NGO in India has started to use oral history as a way to raise awareness of gender-based violence. Their leader takes a look at the Mapping Our Success Stories and finds a story from Nepal. She is able to download the story onto a laptop, and as women gather in a house that evening, she shows the story and uses the facilitator's guide with the group. The women share their own stories and discuss strategies to address violence in their neighborhood.


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Lovely idea, Natasha.

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