Story writing as a scythe to capture the moment
Thena Posysenthong, Linking, Learning, and Amplifier Officer, Voice in Laos
Aiong Joohuevue, Project Coordinator, Sisterhood for Development Association
Phailinh Keuthla, Project Coordinator, TakiengLao Association
Lattavanh Sengdala, Project Coordinator, CHIAS
Vonekham Duangpaserd, Project Officer, CASE
From 26-28 September 2023, Voice in Laos team held its Outcome Harvesting and Impact Story Write-shop in Luang Prabang. There were 18 multi-country and national grantee partners from various rightsholder groups who joined this productive event. This activity intends to promote creativity, enhance writing skills, and gather outcomes from their initiatives. It also aims to empower partners to successfully communicate their project’s results to a larger space, including
, potential donors, partners, and the communities they work with .
“In ancient times, people used words of mouth in order to hand down the stories to the next generation.” This practice, which is still prevalent in Laos and many other regions of the world, involves the use of folk tales, mythology, storytelling, folklore, and oral tradition in a pattern of words of mouth. In contemporary times, we utilize writing to document and report our findings. This method enables us to record our experiences and distinguish between beneficial and detrimental practices.
Voice sees the importance of outcome statements which describes an observable change in another social actor and briefly explains its relevance and the way in which grantees’ programmes contributed to that change. It is also a good tool for grantee partners to keep track on what they are implementing. After the event, there are some feedbacks and commitments from some participants and they are planning to write the outcome statements and impact stories that they obtain from their activity implementation.
“After participating in the write-shop, it made me understand better about each project’s results. I feel more confident to harvest our own outcomes. And I am so delighted to see many associations working to make betterment for their communities. During the outcome statement writing activity, I learned about a clear writing process, deepening my knowledge which helped me visualize possible future outcomes. It also gave us new ideas about how outcomes can help us take things to the next level. In addition to learning and understanding, I also brought it to the organization to start looking at the Output of each activity, writing the Outcome that exists and planning to write an Impact Story after writing the Outcome Statement. Thank you for giving a good lesson to everyone and every organization.”
“The Outcome Harvesting Write-shop is a training session that is focused on evaluating projects or activities that result in the change of behavior, whether in terms of activities, relationships or policies and practices. It is a method that may not be the same as other previous trainings, but it is another approach that will help us understand more about the results under the participation of members in the organization.”
On the other hand, writing is another method that resulted in harvesting the outcomes of the activity more clearly. In this writing exercise, there are both free-writing and principled writing. Each method draws ideas and lessons from the implementation of the activity into an interesting material that creates inspiration, encourages change and can be a lesson for the organization itself.
“I have learnt how to write outcome statements through a clear set of steps and a process which makes it easy to write and see the bigger picture beyond the initial outputs. Besides that, it can also be used as a document for fundraising.
These tools will be used to track the activities, project and project report-writing based on the initial outputs to the bigger outcomes. This will be used as one of the documents for fundraising which can show the donors the changes that happened. In addition, it can also be used to help in writing the project history in relation to previous outcomes.”
“I feel very thankful because write-shop is full of knowledge exchanges about each ongoing and closed project of Voice grantee partners. I now know how to gather outcomes which are sometimes overlooked in the project closure report and activity tracking report. I think that the impact stories can be used in the 6-month report and the year-end report to partners and donors.”
This is the event where the synergies of Voice grantees which locates in the different parts of Laos occurred to share about how they are progressing and learning through writing their outcome statements. Hopefully, this event can nourish their writing and storytelling ability and that they would be able to utilize this tool to harvest their hard work— to be a scythe for harvesting their achievement and amplify the changes throughout their journeys.