About the Author: Rachel Wolf, Peace Corps Volunteer
I am a Peace Corps Response Volunteer working as a Capacity Building and Youth Program Consultant for Helping Hand for one year. I’m from Colorado, but spent the past two years in Peace Corps in El Salvador, then continued on with Peace Corps Response in Georgia. I’m working with the NGO to grow their organizational capacity, develop new youth programs and mobilize youth civic engagement.
From October 26-30, ten young women from the conflict-affected region of Abkhazia living in Tbilisi attended a week-long workshop on radio storytelling. They participated in self-esteem and leadership activities, learned about the history of radio, interviewing and effective storytelling techniques, and received technical trainings on using recording software and making podcasts. The trainings were adapted from various sources and translated into Georgian. The facilitators used the TechGirlz podcasting as a structure for their session on podcasting, but taught the young women the basics of Audition (rather than Garageband), since that was the technology available to us.
In the session they listened to podcasts and talked about voice inflection, sounds, narrative flow, and interviewing techniques. They had the chance to record themselves and work on editing their recordings and adding in sounds. They had at least two session-hours each day to brainstorm, write, plan and/or interview as they chose based on specific topics. On the first day, for example, they spent the last hour working through ideas on how to create short radio shows on Georgian/Abkhazian history and culture to give context to the personal stories they would be sharing throughout the week and coming months.
The workshop on Wednesday focused on violence and personal stories of conflict. I could see the participants getting closer, sharing their stories, and analyzing their own histories. Ana, the facilitator for that session, said that their stories even made her a little emotional, and made the history real in a way it hadn’t been before. This is what we’re hoping to convey with the radio shows, and their participation and hard work throughout the week bodes well for some very engaging podcasts. By the conclusion of the workshop, the young women had created plans and scripts for almost 100 short radio shows, and they spent all of Saturday recording in shifts and editing their recordings. Throughout the coming months they are planning to write and record at least 30 more shows about their personal experiences as IDPs, and write transcripts in English and Georgian for the online radio website (https://helpinghand.airtime.pro/).
About the Organization: Helping Hands
Helping Hand is a small, women-run NGO founded and based in Tbilisi, Georgia with a mission of inspiring and equipping youth as volunteers to meet the needs of their communities and strengthen the civil society network. Their vision is of a world where united and engaged youth discover their power to make a difference and are supported by an extended network of over 400 youth volunteers that provide assistance on projects such as youth workshops, training events, community projects, and regular volunteer programming activities.