Winfred Mwende Mutinda

2019 Mandela Washington Fellow, Kenya

Course Reflection on “Digital Storytelling: New Models to Promote Local Initiatives After a Crisis”

I have embraced the power of storytelling to make my voice heard, to create a positive impact, to inspire, to motivate and to enlighten others.  The truth is, telling stories is one of the most powerful means that we can use to influence, teach, and inspire, and everybody has the power to tell a story through social media.

A woman stands outdoors by a sign for the Blessed to Bless Initiative and care packages, next to a small tree.
Winfred poses with care packages from the Packages of Hope project at the Blessed to Bless Initiative.

It is the impact and great feedback of the stories that I have told before that gave me the zeal and the desire to pursue the “Digital Storytelling: New Models to Promote Local Initiatives After a Crisis” course on the Fellowship Portal.  This course has enhanced my understanding, especially on the principles of digital storytelling, as well as how to make my voice heard by the targeted audience.  It has been an eye-opener, and I applaud the team that put the course materials and resources together.  It is so timely and resourceful!

I intend to document my personal and professional journey through storytelling, and I am grateful that Gail Prensky, 2019 Reciprocal Exchange Participant, offered great guidance on how to go about this in the course discussion board.  I am also glad that I am professionally connected to her for further guidance.  This is what Gail said that validated my idea: “There is nothing great like producing a short video story that presents your passions, experiences, and dreams to connect with others who might be interested in working with you… or inspiring young people to learn from you and hear how you evolved.”

Additionally, through this course, I have honed skills that are key to supporting my development as a leader as well as gained new tools and strategies valuable for my work, personal branding, and organizational branding.  I have learned how organizations can use digital platforms to promote their initiatives and raise awareness with their target audiences.  As the initiator of the Blessed-To-Bless Community initiative, which is aimed at creating positive change in the community, this course has taught me how to leverage solutions-focused storytelling to enhance my impact.  I am in the final stages of registering my NGO in Kenya, and from this course, I have gained great insights on how digital storytelling can assist my organization to reach a wider audience.

Finally, digital and social media are extraordinary platforms for branding our organizations. The principles of storytelling shared by Olugbenga Ogunbowale, 2019 Fellowship Alumnus from Nigeria, are greatly appreciated.  He outlined these principles as G.E.T. (Grab attention, Elicit an emotion, and Take action).

I want to encourage all the Fellowship Alumni and 2021 selected candidates to take advantage of the “Digital Storytelling: New Models to Promote Local Initiatives After a Crisis” course.  It will help them to understand how to use the power of storytelling for the greater good as well as to understand new perspectives on how to tell a better story.

Written by Winfred Mutinda, a 2019 Fellowship Alumna from Kenya. Edited by Meredith Lopez.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX.  The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Government.

Fellowship Alumni and selected candidates for 2021 who are interested in learning more about this topic are encouraged to take the “Digital Storytelling: New Models to Promote Local Initiatives After a Crisis” course through the Fellowship Portal.  Learn more about the course.

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