The World’s Largest Story-gathering Exercise

The World’s Largest Story-gathering Exercise

White Rice x UNICEF



White Rice was tasked with finding effective ways to gather and record the experiences, behaviors, and impact on mothers of a Behavior Change Program on Child Stunting. We sought to create a participatory strategy centered on the mothers impacted by the program by creating safe spaces for open communication and peer-to-peer learning among mothers.


In Partnership with InsightShare UK, we implemented the Participatory Video and Most Significant Change (PVMSC) technique to qualitatively assess the behavioral outcomes of a Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) Program for UNICEF, ‘Misaali Maa’ (Exemplary Mother).

This campaign aimed at preventing stunting in the Pakistani province of Sindh, where every other child under the age of five suffers from stunted growth. The campaign’s focus was on promoting healthy behaviors and practices among caregivers in the first 1000 days of an infant’s life.

We conducted 450 story-circles across three districts of Sindh, collecting stories from 11,000 participants of the campaign. Each circle had 20-25 women and 3500 stories of change recorded in total. Story circles consisted of larger listening and smaller speaking circles, offering an inclusive space to share, listen, and learn. The storytelling circles proved to be a generative exercise that reiterated the messages of the campaign and encouraged women to come together to share lessons and amplify learnings.

Following storytelling circles, the stories voted to be the most impactful were then filmed and edited alongside mothers who narrated their stories in each film. Mothers from the community led the entire process.

The Participatory Video process allowed everyone to get involved, contribute, feel, and respond to other people’s stories. Once made, the films were screened in larger communities in 12 screening sessions, attended by local government representatives among various community members. Inspired by the stories on screen, the community in attendance felt confident to speak about their experiences and openly discuss their personal challenges. In this way, these stories became positive deviants for mothers of the community. By screening the films, the conversation around women and children’s health was opened up to the public, including the government representatives that play a role in creating policy around these issues, hence revitalizing the ongoing impact created by Misaali Maa.


The scale of the effort, 11000 mothers, participating in 450 sessions, created a tremendous buzz in the communities and ended up being one of the world’s largest story-gathering exercises. InsightShare, an agency leader in PVMSC around the world, considered the activation potential of this effort: “a programmatic activity in itself, supporting women to discuss their achievements and challenges as they adopt new behaviors.” What began as a technique to gain insights and measure the impact of a campaign became a generative technique to amplify and reinforce messages, while creating a support network for change. PVMSC created a platform for mothers to own their narrative, build autonomy, and to feel confident enough to commit to healthier choices.

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