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Stories, pictures and drawings

Aim of the tool
To help you present your findings in an appealing and creative way so that you can effectively get your message across

When to use it?
This tool is useful to use at different stages of an intervention process being evaluated (i.e. beginning, mid-way and end). You can also use it to help you communicate the findings of the evaluation to your stakeholders.

How difficult is it to use it?
Easy – moderate – for experienced users/facilitators

Tool for thought or tool for action?
Thought

Benefits
Presenting information in a creative way will make your report more appealing to readers; it will increase their understanding of your results and will make your key messages more memorable.

Issues to be aware of
Is anyone listening to what you are saying? Visualising information can help you get your story across, grabbing people’s attention at the same time.

Description of the tool
Do not limit yourself to just sharing your evaluation findings through a report, there are also other effective ways of communicating your findings. Consider using stories, pictures and drawings from the evaluation (of course, this depends on your audience, budget and how you gathered your data, you) to convey your message. And if there are sufficient funds, you should also consider working with an artist or a graphic recorder to help you to produce creative displays.

Storytelling is an ancient tradition that has, over time and across cultures, served many different purposes, from education and the transmission of values to political mobilisation and pure entertainment. It can take many forms such as oral and written narratives, the use of gesture, movement, art, music and movies. It is for this reason that it is considered to be a highly effective, culturally appropriate approach to communicate with people at different levels (e.g., grassroots level, meso- and macro-level). Stories are also used to illustrate and contextualise the points you make with facts and numbers. For example, after presenting statistical information on the activities that you implemented in the past year, you can add a box that contains a vignette or a strong powerful account told by a staff member or programme participant that describes a particular event that supports the statistical data.

It has often been said that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. Pictures or images provide another way of presenting information and increasing the understanding of your results. You can use graphic tools such as pie charts, drawings or photographs to help you present different kinds of data in an attractive way, and strengthen the report’s narrative. Images can also bridge differences in language, context and culture.

Further reading:

* Stories of change - example