Promoting the Topic of Storytelling for Social Enterprises Throughout Africa

People ask for data but believe in stories. The best stories are not merely expository, biographical, or analytical. Often, stories take on the form of an adventure, following the journey of a hero or protagonist. There is a clear beginning, which is followed by specific events that touch on a wide range of emotions. The lead character faces difficulties, dangers, and conflicts, which need to be overcome to achieve some sort of growth or success. In the end, something has changed, insights are gained, and/or new connections are formed. Good narratives can be used for organizational development, explaining the value proposition of one’s business for identifying and overcoming communication gaps, for a mutual understanding of the different partners in the ecosystem of inclusive business – revealing constraints, conflicts, cultural patterns of behavior etc. and for marketing and advertisement purposes.

In 2015, adelphi joined forces for the first time with Siemens Siftung on their project “Stories About Us“, which aimed at making the case for capacity building programmes through storytelling. This project was built around the collection of stories about individual social enterprises in Latin America and Africa and the subsequent development of a capacity building programme for social enterprises on how to tell their story. Convinced by the great success of this project, Siemens Stiftung contracted adelphi again in 2016 to expand the capacity building programme to consultants.  

A result of this continued collaboration between adelphi and Siemens Stiftung is the development and implementation of a dedicated one-day training format on storytelling for social enterprises and a comprehensive two-day training format on storytelling for consultants. In the two-day format, consultants got to know what storytelling means in the business context, how it works and how it can be used successfully within the ecosystem of social entrepreneurship. The participant-led methodology applied was geared by short inputs, practical exercises and interactive group work, guided by expert trainers from adelphi, Stuttgart Media Unviersity and Endeva, who apply a variety of storytelling tools and training the participants on how to conduct narrative interviews.

This comprehensive capacity-building programme on storytelling is being implemented in Ghana, Malawi, South Africa and Uganda.