Introduction to understanding and amplifying voices with SenseMaker

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Collecting stories of experiences in local situations and difficulties from people on the ground gives better situational awareness for designing programmes and interventions than just consulting experts or doing polling. Mass narrative collection is a good starting point, but the need to understand the narrative from the respondent's perspective is a greater challenge.

Narrate's recent work with UNICEF, UNDP, GirlEffect, ODI and others has taken advantage of SenseMaker®, a new tool for understanding complex situations through self-signified narrative. Using SenseMaker® has:

  • given equal weight to all voices in a complex environment while allowing us to explore particular groups' perspectives
  • shown how programmes have impacted on underlying attitudes of local people after UNDP workshops in Jordan
  • illustrated what matters most - along with indications of how to improve lives - in Yemen, Moldovia, Uganda, Rwanda and Kyrgyzstan
  • highlighted both problematic issues and practical opportunities in working in areas in conflict with each other

This one hour webinar, hosted by Narrate's Tony Quinlan, will introduce the tool, explore some of the issues in implementing it and give examples from practical field use on aid and development projects.


Tony Quinlan, Narrate

Tony has been applying complexity-based approaches to development problems since 2010. Working with organisations like UNDP, GirlEffect (previously GirlHub), UNICEF, BRAC and IRC as well as commercial organisations and national governments, he has applied these techniques to sustainable livelihoods, prejudice, WASH and gender issues.

For a teaser of his work, visit the UNDP Innovations Conversation video he gave in September 2017 here.

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