Telling stories, understanding lives, working toward change

COPLEY, Kath
HAYLOR, Graham
SAVAGE, William
Publication Date 
December 2005
10 p

This paper considers the importance of listening to people's stories when working towards improving the lives and livelihoods of individuals and communities. "Stories are helping us learn more about the livelihoods of the fishers and farmers with whom we work in eastern India. We are engaged with these communities in processes and activities aimed at improving their lives and promoting changes in government policy and service delivery in aquaculture and fisheries. Stories are told in several languages by women and men who fish and farm, about their lives, their livelihoods and significant changes they have experienced. We also record stories as narrated to us by colleague-informants. The written and spoken word, photographs, drawings and films - all are used to document the stories of people’s lives, sometimes prompted by questions as simple as 'What do people talk about in the village?' Through the power of language, stories can be an entry point into livelihoods programming, monitoring and evaluation, conflict transformation and ultimately a way of giving life to a rights-based approach to development"

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