“Who better tells a story than the victim?” – B.ISA Founder, Betty Osei Bonsu. As part of efforts to increase awareness on social and environmental storytelling, B. Inspired with Stories from Africa (B.ISA) in collaboration with the GreenZine has organised an event dubbed “ The Art of Storytelling”. The maiden edition featured Shemei Agabo, a Freelance Multimedia storyteller from Uganda, Max Sano, a Lead Editor of Greenzine from New York, Esther Camara founder of Youth Initiative for Climate Action from Sierra Leone and the founder of B.ISA, B. Inspired with Stories from Africa, Betty Osei Bonsu.
Speaking at the event, the scientific storyteller, Betty Osei Bonsu noted that, there remains a huge gap around storytelling and environmental issues in the Global South, describing the subject as unimportant to most of the masses. She further mentioned the pool of talented people in storytelling on the environment in the global south but the lack of attention from relevant authorities has dowsed the flame of enthusiasm to explore the negatives and positives while proffering solutions.
The event was themed; Encouraging environmental and social stories for community development and Madam Betty, also serving as the Green Africa Youth Organization, Country Manager for Uganda countinued to highlight the critical role youth play in environmental storytelling describing them as the powerhouse that gives momentum to drive change.
The importance of storytelling cannot be underestimated as it creates new perspectives and better understanding in a bid to raise awareness on happenings in a bid to create change. She laments the situation where she had to travel to Europe before she could hear the story of Africa, quizzing ” who better tells a story than the victim?”, Africans should learn to tell its self its story.
The lead Editor of New York based Greenzine, Max Sano also challenged environmental storytellers to learn skills of narration to attract the attention of those in power to push for positive action to tackle climate issues. He observed most elected officers in the Global North appeals to their self-interest and will require strategic communication to cause a paradigm shift from the business as usual attitude toward climate issues. Max Sano who is also a contributing writer for Thread Media and the urban activists on environmental ethics and institution made the call on the event, noting that the art of storytelling present a viable opportunity for community building.
During the panel discussion, the Ugandan based Freelance Multimedia Storyteller and Producer/Director of documentaries for East Africa production company, Shemei Agabo noted that the storytelling should fit into the context of the local environment as it presents a vessel to humanise people facing climate change. He observed indigenous people are alive to their aspiration and history adding that storytellers should be alive to giving voice to issues of the community while being alive to available solutions. Mr Agabo called for the art of storytelling to involve participation from locals instead of the indigenous story tainted with western or whitish nuisances adding that most communities are losing the richness and social identity of the richness.
B.ISA looks forward to increasing awareness on the art of storytelling to inspire change in communities. Click the link to watch the live event: (27) The Art of Storytelling Webinar 2022 – YouTube
Story by Prosper Adankai