Project Description

Digitize your story

The idea of the “DIG Your Story!” project is to develop skills for implementing a new tool in civic organizations’ youth work, such as digital storytelling, understood as a short form of media production, allowing everyone to share different aspects of their story online.

Digital storytelling is a way to shift the focus from institutional and formal speaking to short first-person stories, which are emotional, authentic and impactful. Personal stories are shared experiences, background and viewpoints about life, and they are a part of the participation narrative, through which people from vulnerable groups are included in the social processes. Their empowerment through digital storytelling strengthens civic organizations’ cause to achieve social change.

The project views digital storytelling in its two aspects – creating a personal and organizational narrative and digitizing it through multimedia tools. Their implementation requires certain skills, knowledge and practice to achieve the desired effect.

Digital stories are a means to increase public sensitivity and empathy. By training key figures from the NGO teams, digital storytelling could turn into a tool for persuasion, gaining trust, promoting social causes, putting pressure on decision makers, motivation and influence.

Digitize your story

The idea of the “DIG Your Story!” project is to develop skills for implementing a new tool in civic organizations’ youth work, such as digital storytelling, understood as a short form of media production, allowing everyone to share different aspects of their story online.

Digital storytelling is a way to shift the focus from institutional and formal speaking to short first-person stories, which are emotional, authentic and impactful. Personal stories are shared experiences, background and viewpoints about life, and they are a part of the participation narrative, through which people from vulnerable groups are included in the social processes. Their empowerment through digital storytelling strengthens civic organizations’ cause to achieve social change.

The project views digital storytelling in its two aspects – creating a personal and organizational narrative and digitizing it through multimedia tools. Their implementation requires certain skills, knowledge and practice to achieve the desired effect.

Digital stories are a means to increase public sensitivity and empathy. By training key figures from the NGO teams, digital storytelling could turn into a tool for persuasion, gaining trust, promoting social causes, putting pressure on decision makers, motivation and influence.

The training

Within the framework of the project, from 14th to 20th August 2018, a seven-day training course was held in the town of Dobrinishte, Bulgaria. The training team is international, gathering professionals with experience on the subjects, who are familiar with the youth sphere, wield non-formal methods and are constantly approbating new training programs, methods and tools. 

The participants in the training are youth workers, leaders, facilitators, coaches, active volunteers and key figures from the partners’ teams, with an interest in the subject and the desire to develop their digital storytelling competences, as well as implement their new knowledge and skills in the civic sector, to be more effective digital communicators and achieve social change in their field of work.

Youth workers from disadvantaged groups – facing  geographical, economic and social restraints, people with disabilities – also completed the program. Their viewpoint was not only emotional for the whole group, but also contributed toward increasing empathy, understanding of their problems and helped improve the communication on “sensitive subjects” with “sensitive groups”.

The training program was designed by VIA CIVIC’s team and tailored to the pre-researched expectations and shared experience of the participants. The training team offered various non-formal education methods, to achieve the goals, set in the program. As a result, the participants became a mutually supportive, tolerant team, worked out a specific definition of digital storytelling in the context of youth work, became acquainted with the principles and techniques of storytelling, constructed their own digital stories by creating a script, storyboard and tested them in front of an audience, learned to use various digital tools for visualizing the story – making video, pictures, stop motion, using the power of music and audio effects, working with editing and mixing programs, and finally – creating a complete digital story to disseminate on different channels. They developed the skill to “translate” abstract concepts through specific authentic stories, to make them more impactful and real.

The training

Within the framework of the project, from 14th to 20th August 2018, a seven-day training course was held in the town of Dobrinishte, Bulgaria. The training team is international, gathering professionals with experience on the subjects, who are familiar with the youth sphere, wield non-formal methods and are constantly approbating new training programs, methods and tools.

The participants in the training are youth workers, leaders, facilitators, coaches, active volunteers and key figures from the partners’ teams, with an interest in the subject and the desire to develop their digital storytelling competences, as well as implement their new knowledge and skills in the civic sector, to be more effective digital communicators and achieve social change in their field of work.

Youth workers from disadvantaged groups – facing geographical, economic and social restraints, people with disabilities – also completed the program. Their viewpoint was not only emotional for the whole group, but also contributed toward increasing empathy, understanding of their problems and helped improve the communication on “sensitive subjects” with “sensitive groups”.

The training program was designed by VIA CIVIC’s team and tailored to the pre-researched expectations and shared experience of the participants. The training team offered various non-formal education methods, to achieve the goals, set in the program. As a result, the participants became a mutually supportive, tolerant team, worked out a specific definition of digital storytelling in the context of youth work, became acquainted with the principles and techniques of storytelling, constructed their own digital stories by creating a script, storyboard and tested them in front of an audience, learned to use various digital tools for visualizing the story – making video, pictures, stop motion, using the power of music and audio effects, working with editing and mixing programs, and finally – creating a complete digital story to disseminate on different channels. They developed the skill to “translate” abstract concepts through specific authentic stories, to make them more impactful and real.

Creating a digital story for NGO

A digital story is any story, created for the digital environment. This general formulation, becomes more specific in the context of civic organizations and youth work by extrapolating a few main characteristics:

“Digital storytelling is a story, created and disseminated with digital means and in a digital environment. It is short, typically comes from personal experience, and is therefore frequently told in the first person. It is emotional, carries a specific message and call to action, which engages the audience and has an end goal – achieving certain social change”.

A digital story is created in the following steps:

  • Defining a problem (what is the story about – subject, title)
  • Researching the target group (who is the character, how does he live, what is his world like)
  • Determining a solution (what is the message, positive change)
  • Formulating the story’s goal (why are we telling the story – informing, motivating, engaging, including)
  • Defining the story’s audience (who the story is for determines how it will be told)
  • Choosing a channel (determines the shape and duration)
  • Creating a script (structuring the content)
  • Creating a storyboard (structuring and planning the vision)
  • Filming/production (realizing the story on site, creating and getting materials)
  • Editing (post production – processing the existing material)
  • Dissemination/publishing (promoting through different channels)
  • The training offered the participants specific tools, aiding their work on digital stories, such as a canvas for extrapolating a problem, a template for script development and a storyboard.

Models of story structures, such as “hero’s journey”, “climbing the mountain” and other classic dramatic forms, were offered. The main elements of every story – character, character’s world, conflict, events, climax, etc. – were presented. The participants enriched their knowledge on using different means for filming, recording and later processing the material with available free online programs and applications. Some of the teams realized their ideas as stop motion (moving drawings) in a creative way, requiring patience, talent and technical capabilities.

The training used approaches and methods to stimulate creativity, activate the imagination, overcoming the fear of mistakes, thinking outside the box and, most of all – encouraging the skills to tell stories in an impactful way. The participants not only took on the role of creators and  “the people behind the camera”, but often participated as actors and portrayed the characters they themselves created.

Creating a digital story for NGO

A digital story is any story, created for the digital environment. This general formulation, becomes more specific in the context of civic organizations and youth work by extrapolating a few main characteristics:

“Digital storytelling is a story, created and disseminated with digital means and in a digital environment. It is short, typically comes from personal experience, and is therefore frequently told in the first person. It is emotional, carries a specific message and call to action, which engages the audience and has an end goal – achieving certain social change”.

A digital story is created in the following steps:

  • Defining a problem (what is the story about – subject, title)
  • Researching the target group (who is the character, how does he live, what is his world like)
  • Determining a solution (what is the message, positive change)
  • Formulating the story’s goal (why are we telling the story – informing, motivating, engaging, including)
  • Defining the story’s audience (who the story is for determines how it will be told)
  • Choosing a channel (determines the shape and duration)
  • Creating a script (structuring the content)
  • Creating a storyboard (structuring and planning the vision)
  • Filming/production (realizing the story on site, creating and getting materials)
  • Editing (post production – processing the existing material)
  • Dissemination/publishing (promoting through different channels)
  • The training offered the participants specific tools, aiding their work on digital stories, such as a canvas for extrapolating a problem, a template for script development and a storyboard.

Models of story structures, such as “hero’s journey”, “climbing the mountain” and other classic dramatic forms, were offered. The main elements of every story – character, character’s world, conflict, events, climax, etc. – were presented. The participants enriched their knowledge on using different means for filming, recording and later processing the material with available free online programs and applications. Some of the teams realized their ideas as stop motion (moving drawings) in a creative way, requiring patience, talent and technical capabilities.

The training used approaches and methods to stimulate creativity, activate the imagination, overcoming the fear of mistakes, thinking outside the box and, most of all – encouraging the skills to tell stories in an impactful way. The participants not only took on the role of creators and “the people behind the camera”, but often participated as actors and portrayed the characters they themselves created.

Video stories

27 pages of an exciting story, told by the project participants. Digital storytelling in action. The entire film is made up and created by them, spontaneously and with the tools, techniques and approaches they learned during the training. Enjoy watching.

In order for you to win a 1 million jackpot from the lottery, 934 thousand people lose. The chance of you being one of those 934 thousand is huge. Gambling (online casinos, lottery tickets, sports bets, etc.) can ruin your life.

The inspiring story of Dilyan Manolov, which motivates us to be a better version of ourselves.

Ema is 10 years old. She wants to save the world from pollution through recycling plastic, paper and saving food. She cares about the environment she lives and grows up in. Her friend is trying to help her and you can see their adventure for yourselves.

“Be active, be an influencer!” You are an active teenager with many hobbies and friends. Look around! Motivate your friends to become active like you.

“Be a hero, clean the future!” A story about three friends, sending a message from the future to the people in the present, to be more concerned about nature and the world they live in. The apocalyptic scenario can be rewritten NOW!

“In her shoes” is a story about gender stereotypes and what happens when we turn the viewpoint around. We invite you to watch this video and think about the little and big situations in society, creating victims of stereotypes.

Video stories

27 pages of an exciting story, told by the project participants. Digital storytelling in action. The entire film is made up and created by them, spontaneously and with the tools, techniques and approaches they learned during the training. Enjoy watching.

In order for you to win a 1 million jackpot from the lottery, 934 thousand people lose. The chance of you being one of those 934 thousand is huge. Gambling (online casinos, lottery tickets, sports bets, etc.) can ruin your life.

The inspiring story of Dilyan Manolov, which motivates us to be a better version of ourselves.

Ema is 10 years old. She wants to save the world from pollution through recycling plastic, paper and saving food. She cares about the environment she lives and grows up in. Her friend is trying to help her and you can see their adventure for yourselves.

“Be active, be an influencer!” You are an active teenager with many hobbies and friends. Look around! Motivate your friends to become active like you.

“Be a hero, clean the future!” A story about three friends, sending a message from the future to the people in the present, to be more concerned about nature and the world they live in. The apocalyptic scenario can be rewritten NOW!

“In her shoes” is a story about gender stereotypes and what happens when we turn the viewpoint around. We invite you to watch this video and think about the little and big situations in society, creating victims of stereotypes.

This post is also available in: Български