Real stories from real people inspire change

Developments Magazine highlights an interviewing method that is part-historian, part-journalism, part-ethnography (and you could probably throw in participatory design and co-creation for a higher buzzword count). But the thrust is that stories, built from the details of the lives of real people are more effective drivers of change for advocates and policymakers and other stakeholders.

National newspaper, TV and radio journalists spent three days recording the lives of more than 30 rural people in Sindh province – people whose main qualification for being interviewed was their poverty.

These life stories were gathered by the Panos network and partners using a painstaking method of interviewing which emphasizes patient listening and open ended questions. The result was that those journalists are now more inclined to highlight the problems faced by the people they met and others like them.

These interviews were gathered using a method known as ‘oral testimony‘, which sets out to record the fine detail of the lives of people in developing countries. This involves ‘active listening’ and encouraging the interviewee to dictate the direction of the interview.


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