The DGMT Learning Lunch

The Learning Lunch - Exceptional storytelling with Embrace

April 28, 2022 The DG Murray Trust
The DGMT Learning Lunch
The Learning Lunch - Exceptional storytelling with Embrace
Show Notes

Storytelling can be used in the non-profit sector as a means of listening and sharing, gaining trust within your network and shaping how you move forward with your work. In this podcast, Embrace Movement for Mothers shares their unique best practices when it comes to storytelling and making the mother a powerful ally in their activism - not only in relation to the child but as a key player socially, economically and politically in South Africa. 

Embrace promotes a connected and thriving start to motherhood for every new mother in South Africa. They have adopted a people-driven approach to supporting mothers as the primary ‘simple, loving connection’ in their children’s life. A key part of this people-driven approach has been to instil a storytelling methodology that sheds light on the stories of willing mothers to build solidarity with the movement. 

A good example of this is in 2018, during Women’s Month, Embrace decided to tell the stories of 31 mothers over 31 days. Rumbi Goredema Görgens, Embrace Operations Manager writes, “In an effort to reclaim the public space of Women’s Month, littered as it is with pink-hued marketing ploys, we decided to find 31 women doing the always extraordinary and often mundane work of motherhood… When we began planning this campaign, we had a picture of the kinds of stories we wanted to find. We were looking for stories that are often on the margins. We were also looking to disrupt assumptions, for example, by telling the story of a teenage mom who is focused and is raising her child successfully, without state assistance. Some wise people in our network pointed out that by doing this, we were reducing participants to only some parts of their motherhood journeys. We would be narrowly framing stories that were not ours to frame. So we ditched our expectations, and we sought out existing circles of women and asked if we could bring them together for an honest conversation about motherhood. We found these circles in workplaces, leisure groups, support groups and other existing women-centred spaces… Within the stories, you will see the many faces and phases of motherhood in South Africa. You see women sharing the spectrum of their experiences, and, through their stories, fulfilling our collective yearning for connection with and support from other mothers.”

This is just one example of how Embrace was able to listen to the mothers in their network and rethink how they had initially conceptualised this campaign. There is power in the organisation’s willingness to self-correct and be lifetime learners, and this is one of the things that leads them to have such open, honest, vulnerable and trusting relationships with the mothers in their organisation.

In this podcast Rumbi Goredema Görgens, Embrace’s Operations Manager and Nonkululeko Mbuli their Communications and Advocacy Strategist, shares their best practices for ethical storytelling that takes others into the heart of other’s experiences and they give advice for making mothers powerful allies in activism.