The Nuance of Narrative

The GHW is an effort to contribute a missing piece to the dialogue on accountability in global health. While most existing efforts focus on how money was spent in terms of charts and graphs, or how many employees are on the payroll, we want to feel what it is like to be at an NGO. What does it mean to receive services here? What are the day to day norms of the workplace? Is this a place you would want to volunteer at again? Is this a place that you, as someone living in a village or a slum, can rely upon to deliver on their promises? Are they improving your community? Is life better for you, or no different, than if they weren’t here?

A clear obstacle, however, relates to the nature of storytelling. Stories are human creations. They are not reality completely, nor are they fully fiction. They are one person’s understanding of a situation, and we respect this. We can foresee the challenge of letting stories paint a complete picture of an organization. We recognize that global health is complicated; that what to one person may appear as “corruption” can, to someone else, be a misunderstanding, or a genuine mistake. How do we tease this out?

One way is through pure numbers. One story is an opinion; 2 less so; 30 and we are getting closer to reality. That’s why we need to push for as many stories and voices as we can before we have something actionable. Every story matters.

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