Page-Dignified-Storytelling Teachers have been creating a supportive and inclusive environment in this school in Sri Lanka where these children can improve their reading skills with tremendous support from school faculty, parents and the community as a whole. Credit: Save the Children

The Dignified Storytelling Pledge

Affirming that each of us has the power to contribute to positive change, I/we pledge to tell stories characterised by deep respect, full transparency, and social responsibility.

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Pledges signed
DEEP RESPECT
    • Putting the well-being and dignity of the people in the stories first, honouring their wishes on what story is told and how it is told.
    • Treating each individual as a whole person, capable of filling many roles and possessing of inherent dignity and worth.
    • Representing every community as dynamic and multi-dimensional.
    • Actively seek the perspectives and opinions of contributors throughout the content-gathering and story development process.  
    • Allow contributors to decide on how they want to present themselves, including where and when they would like to be interviewed, filmed, or photographed, and what they would like to wear.  
    • Do your research in advance on the social, political, cultural, economic, and religious context of the community. 
    • Pause for ‘empathy’ checks prior and throughout the story gathering and telling process, considering whether I/we would be comfortable sharing the story if it were a depiction of ourselves or of someone dear to us.
    • Ask for advice if unsure on whether a particular story, message, or image upholds the dignity of the contributor or the community.  
    • If there is risk of harm, retribution, or loss to the person, family, or community, choose NOT to tell the story.  
FULL TRANSPARENCY
    • Obtaining informed, full, and free consent from contributors.
    • Show realities and change prospects with accuracy and authenticity.
    • Processing, managing, and using content responsibly.
    • Allow time for discussion with contributors to make sure that everyone fully understands and is comfortable with the purpose of the story, any associated risks with telling their story, where the story will be used, and their right to withdraw consent at any time.   
    • Use a skilled interpreter  if different languages are spoken. 
    • Ask contributors if they wish to be  named or identified  and abide by their wishes.  
    • Use all content only with the full understanding, participation and  permission  of the contributor and/or, in the case of a minor, the contributor’s legal caregiver. 
    • Do not digitally manipulate or edit visual or written stories in a manner that changes the meaning or the connotations of the original content. 
    • Allow for complexity and nuance; refrain from presenting over-simplified or over-sensationalized narratives of change to appeal to donors or audiences.  
    • Follow international law and standards, particularly related to vulnerable persons (for example, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), as well as regional or local data protection guidance and laws. 
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
    • Working to mitigate the harmful effects of bias, stereotypes, social stigmas, and power differences.
    • Holding local social, moral, and cultural norms in high regard.
    • Considering the impact of any story on individuals, communities, and the natural environment.
    • Seeking to use storytelling as a means of inspiration and empowerment for both contributors and audiences
    • Pursue accurate and honest representation of individuals and communities with the goal of helping audiences to more deeply understand the wider context.
    • Do not use images, footage, or words that sensationalize or stereotype a person or a situation.
    • Check with contributors and those closest to the story on the ground for accuracy and sensitivity and use their feedback to inform the final story.  
    • Look to diversify the storytellers you work with, actively seeking to hire local talent.  
    • Treat individuals and communities as equal partners – acknowledging their competence, agency, and expertise – rather than as passive recipients of foreign aid. 
    • Promote collective effort towards the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); each of us have important roles to play for the good of our communities and the wider world.  

Take the Dignified Storytelling Pledge

    I am signing the Dignified Storytelling pledge as a:

    As an individual, I commit to using the Pledge to guide my storytelling practices and I will advocate for storytelling that is grounded in respect for human dignity.

    As an entity/organization, we will ensure that our policies are in line with the Pledge, and we will use it to inform practices when engaging storytellers, content creators, and partners. We will advocate for storytelling that is grounded in respect for human dignity.

    Please upload your company’s logo to be featured as a supporter of Dignified Storytelling

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