Dignified storytelling embraces complexity and nuance. It actively seeks opportunities to change one-sided stories about poverty and pity – in part through representing people and communities as more than just their problems. Each individual has a personality, ideas, and a voice. Each community is an ecosystem made up of many parts in constant, dynamic interaction with each other.
Dignified storytelling requires that contributors be presented as fully dimensional and capable of serving in multiple roles. We all have a multitude of different relationships, responsibilities, and roles in our lives ranging from the professional to the personal. Rather than only focusing on one aspect of these – or one circumstance or incident — dignified storytelling presents well-rounded depictions of contributors and the contexts in which they live. It is committed to longer-term processes that acknowledge that communities and cultures evolve and change.
Dignified storytelling ensures authentic and diverse representation of groups or communities. If only one type of contributor is represented, there is a risk of promoting limited ideas about who is affected by an issue, what a community is like, or who is participating in a programme.
Dignified storytelling is more than just showing needs. It is about deep and balanced portrayals that enhance feelings of solidarity, connection, and empathy based on our shared humanity.