It’s no surprise to many of you that I enjoy taking photos and making videos. However some of you may be surprised to find out that taking photos and making videos is essentially 50% of my job description; the other 50% involves writing stories about these photos and videos. (No, of course these aren’t the exact figures from my job description). In other words my job involves doing what I would normally do just for fun and I don’t appreciate this fact anywhere near enough. In fact I sometimes take it for granted. But not today. Today I’m feeling very fortunate.
I work on a project funded by USAID as a chief storyteller (not my actual title lol). I document and share stories about the project’s activities. The project itself is actually really good as far as projects go. I’ve seen and worked on quite a few and I know first-hand that some are better than others. This project aims to improve the state of nutrition in Senegal. It works entirely through established local partners in the agriculture/health sector, i.e. NGOs, farmer’s cooperatives, e.t.c and provides training for them on nutrition-related best practices. In turn, these partners who work directly with community members, share these best practices with the community members in the course of their regular activities.
A few months ago I was working with my colleagues on a profile of one of the project’s beneficiaries. A woman named Khodia Tall. She volunteers in her community as a health worker and has done so for several years. She was one of the health workers that attended some of our project’s training on how to integrate nutrition messaging in community health work. I went to her village to interview her and took photos of her weighing babies, and speaking to women about nutrition. It took the whole day but it all went really well and I got some great photos.
I then drafted a story about all of this which I shared with my colleagues in DC. We worked together on a story that we submitted to USAID/Senegal, who in turn submitted it to USAID headquarters in DC. Our goal was for them to post it on their exposure page. “Exposure” is a really cool photo story sharing platform that a lot of people/ organizations use to share really engaging visual content.
And then we waited. And waited some more. After a few months we were waiting to perhaps hear that the story wouldn’t be used after all. And a few months after that we gave up hope of even receiving that message and sort of forgot about this story.
And then all of a sudden it was posted and I must say their team did an amazing job turning our drafts into a stunning final product.
Check it out!
It is the only USAID exposure story from Senegal and congratulations are going all around. Its a small thing but I feel very proud to have contributed to this. More importantly though, I just feel very fortunate that my job entails creating stories and sharing them with the world.
Here’s to doing what we love.