Anecdote Circles: Monitoring Change in Market Systems Through Storytelling

Posted on 19 December, 2014 – 10:40 AM

by The SEEP Network on Dec 16, 2014  A video presentation  A pdf is also available

“In this third webinar of the series, Daniel Ticehurst, of DAI, spoke about a tool/process now called Anecdote Circles. Such circles are similar to focus group interviews/discussions and beneficiary assessments of the 1980’s: they create a space for market actors to share their experiences in a warm and friendly environment. They are mini social information networks where people can make sense of their reality through storytelling and agree on new or corrective actions. Setting them up and carrying them out tests the capacity of all involved to listen, make sense of and leverage the stories told to promote joint action. Daniel talked about why he thinks the Circles can be important for facilitators of market development and the benefits and the challenges he has faced in its application in Malawi and Tanzania”

The Learning with the Toolmakers webinar series, supported by USAID’s LEO project and hosted by SEEP’s Market Facilitation Initiative (MaFI)

Rick Davies comment: Interesting to see how the focus in these Anecdote Circles, as described in Malawi in the early 1990s, is on the service providers (e.g extension workers, community development workers) in direct contact with communities. Not on the community members themselves. The same was the case with my first use of MSC in Bangladesh, also in the 1990s. The assumption in my case, and possibly in Daniel’s case, was that these front line workers, accumulate lots of knowledge, often informal and tacit, and that this knowledge could usefully be tapped into and put directly to work through the use of sympathetic methods. Also of interest to me was the suggested list of prompt questions, designed to kick start discussions around anecdotes, like “Where were you surprised?…disappointed?…pleased? when you were talking to people in the community”. This reminded me of Irene Guijt’s book “Seeking Surprise

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