Blog Archives

All Posts in Storytelling

August 22, 2013 - Comments Off on [Training] Digital Rights Foundation Reaches Out to the Young Women Activists of KPK

[Training] Digital Rights Foundation Reaches Out to the Young Women Activists of KPK

Technology acts as a powerful tool for freedom of expression. It often provides the marginalized groups of society with alternate mediums to get their message across. Story telling is a transformative art that can be applied in diverse settings. By integrating technology with the centuries-old tradition of story telling, new milestones have been reached in the field of communications. With the rapid growth of social media, digital storytelling has emerged as a very effective technique for social advocacy.

Digital Rights Foundation as a feminist organization remains committed to the use of ICTs for women empowerment. DRF regularly conducts training for women activists, writers, bloggers, human rights defenders and journalists to enhance their technical skills. Besides offering support for staying safe on the internet, we also conduct digital storytelling workshops. The key objective of these storytelling sessions is to help women speak out for themselves by teaching them to narrate their experiences in a persuasive manner.

This month, Aware Girls from Peshawar partnered with Digital Rights Foundation to organize a 4days hands-on digital storytelling workshop in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.  The training sessions commenced on August 16, 2013 and continued till August 19, 2013. After a careful assessment, twenty five participants had been selected to participate in the session. The theme for this particular program was creating awareness regarding gender-based violence.

DRF storytelling session

During the course of workshop, women activists were trained to develop their own stories using a wide array of digital tools. Participants were familiarized with a range of photography, videography, editing and post-production techniques. Four days of intensive coaching enabled the women create and share their unique perspectives on gender based violence. The participants were provided one-on-one assistance to help them customize their projects and generate focused messages in short presentations. Through digital stories, the feelings and thoughts of women activists were brought into action. On the final day, a special story screening event was arranged. Participants were guided to carry out self-evaluation of their work. To mark the successful completion of the training, certificates were awarded to the participants.

Digital Rights Foundation plans to document and disseminate the stories on various digital platforms. DRF also aims to launch more  such projects in future that involve the use of digital media for addressing gender-based violence and violence against women. In that context, DRF seeks to develop interactive training manuals so that participants would be able to carry out similar workshops within their organizations.

To keep up with DRF's news and updates, like us on Facebook!

December 17, 2012 - Comments Off on DAY 8 | LOVE LETTERS TO END VIOLENCE | SEND YOUR THOUGHTS


Image by Moon RhythmLetter writing can be a powerful form of storytelling. When we sit down to write a letter, we take the time to think about our life, and how it connects with the person we are writing the letter to. We share small details, events and anecdotes about the things that have happened to us that are at the same time unimportant but deeply meaningful because it says something about a moment captured and exchanged through a story.

We think about the person we are writing to, hold them in our mind, and put into words what they mean to us. We offer our attention, presence and time. Letters can contain all of these and be read again and again. Letters can contain a moment in history. They can move us into empathy, drive us into action, or be just the thing to stop us from stumbling into despair.

For today’s action, write a love letter to someone about ending violence against women. This can be a love letter to your daughter to share what you’ve learnt about dealing with sexual discrimination, or your best friend about acceptance of our own bodies, or to someone who shared her experience through a blog post or a story from our campaign map to let her know you are really listening and that you can find courage together, or to your Prime Minister to ask her/him to care enough to make a real difference, or even to a stranger.



Write it, post it, or leave it around the places you move around in today for people to find.

Scan or copy it and share it with us here (email, upload to site).

Or if you have come across inspiring open love letters, share them here or on send us the link on Twitter (#takebackthetech #16stories).

Offer your time, love and solidarity. Take Back the Tech!


Here are two posts we would like to share with you as our love letter to individuals and activists who are committed to creating a world free from violence against women:

Here I sit, head bent, writing you an intimate letter. I sense your presence, even though I don't know your name. I envision you as a young woman, possibly a young man, somewhere between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five, but you may also be a decade older--or younger--than that. You may not yet be born.

Perhaps I am trying to speak to my own younger self. When I was coming of age--a process which is still far from over--no one ever spoke strong truths to me in a loving voice. When I was your age, I did not know what I needed to know in order to understand my life--anybody's life. Perhaps, in writing to you, I wish to correct that, to make amends... “

- Continue reading “Letters to a young feminist

“A year back, I became romantically involved with a man. It was a long distance relationship. When I met him, he seemed to be someone who was extremely liberal in his outlook even though he comes from a rather conservative background. He was everything I could ask for. Educated, established and outgoing. For me beauty is not about looks but how a person is at heart. Hence it does not make sense for me to comment on his looks here. But, physical beauty is the only thing he was looking for in me when I met him. This however, I understood much later...."

- Continue reading “Donna’s story”, submitted to us as part of this year’s campaign, which reads as a love letter to women and girls all over the world who has ever felt loss of control over their own bodies in the name of love, and regained it.

October 31, 2012 - Comments Off on Kabul like you’ve never heard it before…

Kabul like you’ve never heard it before…

With all the grim stories and news we see coming out of Afghanistan, I’m sure you’ll already have an idea of what life there must be like – violent, repressive, fearful. Right? Well, think again, it’s time to challenge your preconceptions…

While some women around the world were getting praise for their work on International Women’s Day, passionate Afghan women celebrated it by learning new technological skills to combat gender-based violence and promote women’s rights at the first ever Feminist Tech Exchange held in Kabul.

These women activists from all across the country made inspiring digital stories of their own lives in an effort to raise awareness about women’s rights and affirm gender equality. The FTX was an open forum where activists and trainers were able to come together and discuss and present stories on diverse issues, deepening their understanding of an issue by examining it from various perspectives.

Workshop in Kabul. Photo taken by Nighat Dad

The Feminist Tech Exchange workshop was held in Kabul under the umbrella of the Take Back the Tech! Campaign, and focused on digital storytelling. For four days from 5 – 8  March 2012, this women-only workshop focused on all the issues Afghan women have to face.

Valentina Pellizzer from OWSEE (One World South East Europe), Bosnia Herzegovina and myself traveled to Afghanistan to help trainees bond together and bring them to a comfort level where they could share their heartening stories with others. Eleven women activists of all ages and educational backgrounds, from Mazar Sharif, Herat, Kandhar and Kabul took part in this digital storytelling workshop.

A few of them were quite wary of technology, some of them had never even touched a computer and yet, when they left the workshop they had the enthusiasm and confidence needed to play with technology and use it as a powerful tool giving them a real sense of empowerment.

Taking Back the Tech!

In their own different ways information & communication technologies and violence against women both affect a woman’s capacity to fully enjoy her fundamental human rights. Take Back the Tech strongly believes in the power of ICT to provide us with critical tools to reach out for help and take action against violence against women.

TBTT is a collaborative campaign that takes place every year (25th November – 10thDecember) for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence. TBTT is a wake-up call to everyone, especially women and girls, to take control of technology and make it a tool to end violence against women.

Self-Control & Empowerment through Storytelling

Digital storytelling has always been the basic and most remarkable catalyst of FTXs . Typically, women are the subjects of many stories, research projects, movies, and news items, but rarely do they have any say in how they’re being portrayed by their story-makers.

In digital storytelling workshops, it’s women themselves who control and manipulate the technology and present their own stories in their own words, in their own voices and with their own images. It is a documentation method that enables the storyteller to conceptualize, direct and produce her own stories with all technological tools right at her fingertips.

This process works as a powerful healing mechanism for those who have experienced and witnessed violence in any shape or form. This approach has been used by the APC WNSP(Association for Progressive Communications – Women’s Networking Support Programme) and its member body Women’s Net for documentation as a healing and evaluation tool for advocacy.

Storytelling has profound impacts on the tellers as it enables them to trust others, tell them their own stories and ultimately weave together individual stories to frame a collective picture of community or shared value.

Activism beyond age & education!

These eleven ardent Afghan women made eleven powerful and inspirational digital stories focusing on issues ranging from motherhood to women’s education and clothing. Those stories were presented on 8th March at an event attended by 25 other people.

Few things can illustrate the huge impact that these bonding sessions had on the women better than these remarks that I received from participants:

“I personally feel that FTX has changed my life in a big way, that the process of sharing and making our stories for each other gave me a feeling that I am not alone, that there are many others who are suffering like me and that things happen which are sometimes totally out of our control but there are people who have managed not only to survive them but have come out stronger because of them, and are now prepared to help others face similar challenges and issues head on. And this shows that digital storytelling and the process involve in making it can be life-changing and transformative” — Anonymous

“…sharing our stories and our experiences is  a way of healing but also helps others in coming forward and sharing their stories. Our story is an act, in some way, saying that ‘bad experience does not define who I am’. The decisions we make in terms of what to include in the story and how to say it are all important decisions” - Anonymous

Another participant commented, “I have taken part in several workshops but never attended training like this before. I feel that now we have a powerful bond with each other and I found a true, strong network of support through this training. Also I feel I have a warm relationship with trainers which we call sisterhood!”

I will never forget the brave women I met during FTX, Kabul for the trust they showed me and Valentina, for their love and the enduring bond that we were able to build up during those four days.

It definitely proved to be a space where women could express themselves, and this is particularly important in Afghanistan where there are limited opportunities to do so. We hope this will inspire more women to join the Take Back the Tech! Campaign and we look forward to many more such training events happening in Afghanistan and elsewhere. I certainly believe those eleven inspiring women will be able to pass on their inspiration to the women around them, empowering them with the influential tool of technology and sisterhood!

(Note: Storytellers retain all the rights over their stories and FTX only shares the stories with their explicit permission.)


Originally written for Future Challenges.