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Launch of the Impact Story Magazine

In 2023, we celebrate the 10th edition of our Innovation Festival! To celebrate this with our members, we asked them about their Innovation Impact Story. And what great stories they shared!

A sweet shop of stories to get inspiration and creative ideas from

In this magazine, we share 45 stories full of Innovation and Impact. All stories reflect the diversity of our members, So be prepared for a magazine with very different stories!

‘Let’s stop spreading fake news,’ sings Nigeria’s famous rapper Fresh Emir. In his pop song Jita Jita, Emir warns of the dangers of misinformation on social media. ‘Beware of influencers spreading evil,’ raps Emir to his young listeners. ‘Be sure of your message before you share it.’ And: ‘Let’s stop destroying each other.’ The 2021 song struck a chord. Young people called it positive, inspiring, instructive and topical. The music video has since been viewed over 320,000 on social media platforms.

Few would suspect that behind this song lies the efforts of a Dutch development organisation. They worked together with the rapper and a Nigerian media organisation on a campaign against hate speech and misinformation in conflict-torn northeastern Nigeria. You will find their story of change in this volume.

A magazine with stories about innovation and impact within development cooperation is special. Because organisations are not quick to flaunt their success, I noticed during conversations in the sector. Sometimes, this is out of modesty: we don’t want to show off. Besides: we don’t do it all by ourselves, do we? Sometimes, I sense a fear of losing donors: if we show too much progress, people might think help is no longer needed. Often, it is also a question of capacity: where do our scarce resources go? The choice then falls on new campaigns that draw attention to what is not going well.

Succes motivates

This is understandable but also a missed opportunity. Because if there is anything that inspires and motivates, it is stories about change and success. During an excellent study by Partos and six of its members a few years ago, we saw how that works. We presented 13 stories about development projects to people who were moderately critical to moderately positive about development cooperation. What got them excited? What made them want to take action? These were the stories that showed that something had already been achieved. Stories about what had been done succeeded and changed. It made participants feel optimistic and hopeful and gave them confidence that this organisation could do even more. And there was more: the best-rated stories were those, that focused on local power. They were about people showing initiative, standing up for their rights, overcoming difficulties and getting change done.

Let this be the exact common thread in these impact stories by Partos members. Like the story of Masaai communities who developed an alternative ritual to female circumcision. In ten years, the number of circumcised girls in the project regions dropped by a quarter. Or the story about trade unions that started conducting their own surveys of garment workers. With the harvested data, they stood firm in negotiations with employers. In Nicaragua, this has already led to an 8-10 per cent wage increase in the sector.

This collection of impact stories shows the power of development cooperation: positive change is possible. Moreover, the stories show where the power of development cooperation lies: mobilising people. Or, as a Peruvian trade union worker puts it beautifully in one of the stories: ‘People are the soul of change’.

Candy shop

The magazine deserves an audience. To begin with, from fellow development organisations at home and abroad. They can get inspiration and creative ideas from this sweet shop of stories, which may lead to great new initiatives and collaborations. In addition, the stories deserve to be heard by politicians and policymakers in The Hague. There, they can help underline the importance of international cooperation.

But above all, these stories of change need to find their way to the general public. To people who are stuck with the idea that development organisations mainly distribute food and dig wells. It has long been about so much more. And they need to find their way to people who care about the fight against poverty but wonder whether development cooperation makes sense. These stories have the power to inspire people anew. Share them further!