Dear Partners It is encouraging to see the good work of your organizations toward Mobilization for Women Voter Registration and Participation in Electoral Processes in Pakistan. We at UNDP Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability (TDEA) Women NICs and Voter Registration Campaign (WNVRC) would like you to actively focus on documenting your successes by identifying and developing success stories that capture the impact of your work at the community level. Through this e mail, we are sharing a step by step process for you to identify success stories and showcase the impact of your work. There are 3 sections of this e mail: 1. 5 steps to identify and develop success stories; 2. 6-step guide to success story format; and 3. 7 language tips for success stories. 5 Steps to Identify and Develop Success Stories No. 1. Step Details Identify Beneficiaries The identification of the right kind of beneficiaries around whom your success story would revolve is of foremost importance. Ideally, the selected beneficiaries should be ones who best reflect the change your project has brought about in the community. Anyone, from a child to an elderly woman could be selected as a beneficiary; however, the selected person should be able to throw light on how your project has benefitted him/her and the community at large. At the initial stage, identify at least three beneficiaries. If the success story pertains to a larger change brought about as a result of your project interventions, instead of three beneficiaries, identify a civil society representative, government official and beneficiary/project staff who can effectively highlight your contribution to the change 2. Develop Beneficiary Profiles Once you have selected the beneficiaries, develop their brief profiles that include all the relevant details about them: Age Location (village/city, tehsil/taluka, district, province) Education Marital status and number of children (if any) Profession and monthly income Professional interests Project activities attended How UNDP – TDEA supported project/activity benefited him/her Contact details 3. Share Beneficiary Profiles with TDEA Share the profiles of the selected beneficiaries with the UNDP – TDEA team to seek their opinion. The team may directly contact the beneficiaries to gauge their potential and select one of them as the person around whom the success story would revolve. 4. Conduct Background Research One of the basic purposes of developing a success story is to show how your project interventions have contributed to solving a problem. Numbers come in handy in this connection: to show how acute a problem was, you need to give relevant figures. For example, to show how women were barred from casting their vote before project interventions, give the number of polling stations in the district where female voter turnout was abysmally low in the previous elections. 5. Capture Impact A success story is not supposed to be a summary of your project activities such as a training workshop or seminar, or of accomplishment of your organization’s mid-level goals. It should, instead, be a story of the lives transformed due to your project interventions. 6-Step Guide to Success Story Format Paragraph No. Details 1. The success story should ideally start with a one-sentence summary of the success and then proceed to cover the elements as described below. 2. Description of how things were before UNDP - TDEA intervention: how something was bad or not good enough (this will also show why the project works on this issue). Quantitative data are hugely useful here. Give specific description of the person or place/community featured in the story: age, number of residents, profession, geographic location… 3 4. A paragraph about the UNDP – TDEA supported intervention: what did the project do to change the situation? Be specific: if a training, explain what it taught and to whom? If a grant – give $ amount and tell what it was used for, if other help – name what specifically was done. 5. The “after intervention” paragraph: how the person/group of people/ organization/sector has improved, are doing things better, etc. Quantitative data – kilometers, tones, number of people, money – is hugely welcome. 6. After the above parts are ready, the story should have 2-3 quotations from the person featured in the story (preferably beneficiary), especially quotations supporting items 2/3 and 5 above. A photo of the person featured in the story – positive, action photos are the best. Must be minimum 500 Kb in jpeg format, high resolution. Faces must be visible. 7 Language Tips for Success Stories No. 1. Tip Details Avoid expletives Do not start a sentence with expletives such as ‘It is’ and ‘This is’. Starting a sentence with a word that does not evoke an image in mind puts off the reader. Whenever you try to re-write a sentence starting with ‘It is’ or ‘This is’ using another construction, it would invariably improve. If nothing else, you would save at least three words and your subject would come in the beginning of the sentence. 2. Avoid intensifiers Never use intensifiers such as ‘very’, ‘quite’ or ‘pretty’. These words do not enhance the effect or emphasize a point as we may wrongly think. ‘Positive’ and ‘very positive’ mean the same, as do ‘interesting’ and ‘quite interesting’ and ‘remarkable’ and ‘pretty remarkable’. 3. Use active voice Always prefer active voice unless the object in a sentence is more important that the subject. 4. Use uniform style sheet More often than not, we do not stick to a single style sheet and use a mixture of American and British style sheets. Ideally, this should be avoided and a single style sheet should be used throughout a success story. 5. Avoid overuse of adjectives Too much of adjectives – such as ‘(a) remarkable (change)’, ‘(a) dismal (situation)’ or ‘(an) excellent (initiative)’ – should be avoided at all cost. Using adjectives is like dictating readers instead of telling the story through evoking suitable images. For example, if the situation regarding education in a particular village or union council is distressing, the same should be expressed through some relevant detail – such as low literacy rate among girls or high dropout rate at the primary level – instead of stating the obvious. 6. Used prefixes and suffixes Prefixes and suffixes should be sparingly used since they help you say the same thing in fewer words. They also have a more direct effect on the readers. For example, ‘when the schools opened (again) after the flood…’ to ‘when the schools (re)opened after the flood… 7. Avoid gender-sensitive language and words Avoid using words like ‘mankind’, ‘spokesman’, ‘chairman’, ‘fisherman’ or ‘manpower’; instead use ‘humankind’, ‘spokesperson’, ‘chairperson’, ‘fisher folk’ and ‘workforce’, respectively. We hope you find this e mail helpful. For your ease, we are also attaching 3 supplementary readings for you to further help you in identifying and developing success stories. We encourage you to proactively identify and share success story ideas with us. We will help you in developing these success stories.