When the apprentices become the masters – Somali Storytellers Train-the-Trainer – Facilitator Upskilling

Partner: UNDP Accelerator Lab, Somali Storytellers

What makes this project special 

Following the successful Somali Storytellers bootcamp and storytelling mentorship in 2019, comes the next chapter of this special program in partnership with UNDP Somalia Accelerator Lab. Designed to build the capacity and the confidence of Somali Storyteller alumni to deliver training to a whole new generation of Somali Storytellers, these jam-packed ‘Train the Trainer’ sessions have already grown this active collective of storytellers to new heights, creating hope and change during chaotic times through impactful storytelling.

A bird’s eye view

  • WHAT: Five ‘Train the Trainer’ sessions over three weeks, delivered virtually to a cohort of Somali Storytellers alumni, followed by mentoring and feedback on workshop facilitation and delivery 
  • WHY: To build capacity and confidence of the Storytellers to share their skills, insights and wisdom with others 
  • WHO: UN Development Programme Accelerator Lab – Somali Storytellers 
  • THE RESULTS: A successful Train the Trainer program, and facilitators who were able to independently run a program for 30 new Somali Storytellers in less than a few weeks

“The Story Canvas is really one of the most important tools I’ve learned. It made feel comfortable in capturing whatever story I wanted to record, and now I’ve been able to share that tool with other young storytellers. ” – Faysal Mataan 

The background – for those who want to dive a little deeper

Back in 2019, around the time of SEWF in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, we were lucky enough to help launch Somalia’s first digital storytelling collective, Somali Storytellers, to write a new story for the future of Somalia by amplifying the stories of locally-driven solutions to development challenges. 

This program was followed by a number of online mentorship sessions, through live webinars and a custom-designed Somali Storytellers online training portal. As COVID spread, these talented Somali Storytellers quickly evolved their craft, using their skills to create engaging, informative and locally-relevant information to protect local communities from the threat of the Coronavirus.

But, what if, rather than us teaching a new cohort of Somali Storytellers – alumni were given the skills and supported to share the power of storytelling in their own communities? 

The solution

Digital Storytellers worked with the UNDP Accelerator Lab to design and facilitate a ‘Train the Trainer’ program for Somali Storytellers alumni, co-designing a tailored curriculum and building confidence in facilitation skills for virtual and in-person workshops. 

The train the trainer program was designed to:

  • Help Somali Storytellers to become a self-sustaining impact storytelling organisation;
  • Grow the capacity and confidence of Somali Storytellers alumni to be able to deliver training;
  • Share skills with a new generation of storytellers;
  • Support Somali Storytellers to develop their own training materials, including slide decks and speaker notes.

The process

  • Led by two experienced Stories for Impact facilitators, participants first reflected on their own experiences in the Somali Storytellers bootcamp so that we could extract those learnings for how they wanted future bootcamps to run.
  • Over a four weeks and four sessions, participants were taught how to deliver the cornerstone FIND, MAKE, EDIT and SHARE components of our Stories for Impact curriculum.
  • Between sessions, participants worked on developing their own materials and speaking notes and were offered regular and specific feedback from our facilitators.
  • After a practice run, Somali Storytellers alum organised and ran virtual training to a new cohort of 30 budding storytellers, followed by a face-to-face workshop in Mogadishu. They have since been involved in running workshops at the Social Enterprise World Forum’s Digital event in 2021.

What emerged – the key outcomes

Through the program, Somali Storytellers alumni were able to:

  • Develop a custom, co-designed training program suitable for the local context, and versatile enough to be delivered both virtual or in-person;
  • Build capacity and confidence of Somali Storytellers alumni, to deliver the training and hold space for story;
  • Build skills in facilitation, drawing on their own experience of facilitating in diverse contexts and learning from our experienced facilitators;
  • Successfully and independently delivered the training to 30 new Somali Storytellers. 

Story artefacts – what was ‘created’

‘Story artefacts’ is what you have in your hands as a result of a storytelling process (e.g. videos, blog posts, animations, illustrations). They are critical to unlocking the power of storytelling because they make stories tangible and give people, both internally and externally, the ability to interact with and share those stories. 

In this program, co-created training materials for Somali Storytellers training program emerged that could be adapted for delivery either in-person or online, including speaker notes, video tutorials and examples. All sessions were also recorded so that participants could brush up on the information anytime or use it to train even more Somali Storytellers. 

You can stay up to date with their incredible work following #SomaliStortyellers @SomaliStorytellers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.




community storytelling, digital, digital storytelling, media development training, ngo media, online workshops, somalia, video training