Young farmers, researchers, and development practitioners involved in research, teaching, and extension projects in agriculture have convened in the SEARCA Training on Digital Storytelling for Young Agrinnovators on 21-22 April and 4 May 2022 via Zoom.
As part of SEARCA’s Young Forces for Agricultural Innovation (#Y4AGRI) initiative, the training aimed to equip the youth participants in digital storytelling as an approach for agricultural extension and marketing. There were 28 youth stakeholders trained to produce online stories and multimedia content that promote agriculture-related technologies, research, or advocacy in digital platforms.
“In this training, we challenged our youth participants to infuse creativity in packaging their success stories and not merely reporting facts and figures. We gave them tools and techniques to make agriculture stories compelling, and strategies how to navigate the digital space for online engagement,” said Mr. Sonny P. Pasiona, SEARCA’s Senior Communications Associate and #Y4AGRI Youth Lead.
Making compelling stories
In his opening message, Assoc. Prof. Joselito G. Florendo, SEARCA Deputy Director for Administration, highlighted the more important questions for the youth to ponder as agents of agricultural innovations in their respective organizations.
“The more important questions are – how do we tell stories to others about agricultural innovations, technologies, research, and advocacies? How do we make compelling stories that generate online engagement? And how do we maximize digital platforms to promote these stories on agriculture?” said Deputy Director Florendo.
Ms. Yvette Tan, Agriculture Editor, Manila Bulletin, and Editor-in-Chief, Agriculture Magazine, covered training sessions on trends in digital storytelling, writing online stories, and digital marketing. Meanwhile, Mr. Jayson Berto, Senior Science Research Specialist, Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), covered sessions on digital photography and video production. The resource speakers guided the participants through their story outputs and facilitated a two-way feedbacking on their experiences as “digital storytellers” of their institutions.
“This training inspired me a lot to do more in my field. I was able to learn strategies on how to package the technology we have to sell it to the intended audience,” said Central Mindanao University’s Maejoy Talisay who worked on a project on conservation and mass production of high-yielding falcata seed sources in Mindanao.
Maximizing digital platforms
Participants engaged in various activities to enhance practical application of their learnings, such as editorial calendar development, social media posts, script writing, and photojournalism. The training culminated with a digital story plan and a short video about their respective projects, technologies or campaigns for sharing to their online platforms.
“I learned that the story you are telling your audience will really make an impact, and so designing or crafting your content is a really crucial process.” said Kathleen Valencia from the Visayas State University (VSU). Their digital video story presented the impact of the VSU-assisted women’s association in processing and value-addition of sweet potato products.
“We need to go beyond the science to make sense of our discoveries and practices by learning the art of storytelling. We hope that you have gained a lot from this training and that you will share your learnings with your colleagues as well. Let us make agriculture more fun, relevant, and relatable through storytelling,” said Dr. Romeo V. Labios, SEARCA Operations Consultant for Partnerships, in his closing message.