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Using Stories for Greater Impact

Throughout my career of more than 15 years, I have used statistics a lot. In August 2009, I created an email-based data-sharing forum at my workplace that I named "Statistics at your Doorstep". I have always known at the back of my mind that including images and stories, when delivering statistics, enhances the understanding of the statistics. However, I have never compared the effectiveness of delivering statistics alone versus using stories to deliver information.

Through this C4D Learning Lab, using the example of the situation of girls' education in Afghanistan story we have compared the use of bare statistics and the use of the stories-only to deliver information. I have realized that the most effective way of presenting information is the use of stories that are supported by statistics. One of the partipants who is the head of a large research institution in Malawi told us that he once used stories-only to deliver information to his audience. Even though the audience was touched by the presentations, the participants were asking the question, "Where is the data?" My conclusion therefore is that we need to back our stories with data to add value to statistics, and I believe this is true for all of us.

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