I Will Do My Job Well!
By Rosine Ndayishimiye
It was not until recently that I realized how storytelling is a key component in the health sector. On a beautiful sunny Wednesday morning, Solange, Ayla and I rode on this long dusty road towards Ndera, a small town outside Kigali city; I didn’t know what to expect. Before I realized it, we had reached Gardens for Health International (GHI) offices where Resonate was going to train about 30 health field educators in storytelling and how stories can help in the work they do.
Reaching the training room, we suddenly heard one voice echoed by other many stronger ones. Then one jump, two, three, and, the whole room was full of dancing and singing. The song was “Ibi bintu ni byiza” which means “These things are wonderful.” Immediately, arms spread, we joined them and danced together. The smiles and applause from the eager-to-learn trainees all rose to me like a wave wiping away all my nervousness. Ayla and Solange were more than ready to inspire them to share their stories.
Why do stories actually matter in the daily life of a health worker? As GHI field educators are working with vulnerable women changing health habits, they first need to win their trust and attention. A journey to help a mother take care of her child is not of one day; it is a long journey in which trust is crucial. The educators’ personal stories create common ground in the conversation; they show the women that the health workers are no different from them. A story about a childhood experience with malnutrition can help a mother change her nutrition habits and believe that one day her child will become as successful and healthy as the field educator.
“I now have confidence that I will do my job well!” said one of the Resonate trainees at the end of a session. What in the world triggered that confidence? Little did I know! It was because the GHI field educator could now imagine women nodding in agreement to her teachings after the short, concise, authentic and relevant story that she shared.
How powerful then it is to share our values and heart and connect with people to positively change the world! Many means can be used, but as far as I can tell, nothing does it better than a concise, authentic, relevant, RESONATE story.