Maya Misikir - IMG_2425.jpeg

The people of traditional markets.
Story Sourcing in Hawassa, Ethiopia

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Story Sourcing

Story Sourcing is a semi-formal, journalistic process conducted by Story Scouts to gather stories directly from the audience of interest. These stories will be used to inform the design and production of various types of media-based programs. The heart of the Story Sourcing process is the people whose behavior the media program seeks to influence. Program design is guided by speaking with the audience to gather stories from their life experiences to use as building blocks to construct resonant, entertaining, and culturally relevant media programs. The aim, in part, is to prevent assumptions and stereotypes and to ultimately create stories that genuinely connect to the people whose behavior the program is trying to change. 

Story Sourcing then provides clues as to what kinds of stories might be immersive for this particular audience and what kinds of characters they might identify with. By speaking directly with the audience, we are able to capture glimpses of their motivations, aspirations, fears, hopes, and longings and uncover stories that demonstrate how those feelings play out in action.



USAID’s Feed the Future’s Evidence and Action Toward Safe and Nutritious Food (EatSafe) is a five- year collaborative agreement implemented by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the International Livestock and Research Institute (ILRI), Busara Center for Behavioral Economics (Busara), and Pierce Mill Entertainment & Education (PM). A key objective of EatSafe is investigating what role consumer demand can have to improve food safety in informal markets in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). As such, EatSafe has two primary audiences: the consumer and the informal market vendor, both of whom play critical roles in improving food safety.

In May 2022, four Story Scouts executed Story Sourcing for EatSafe: Maya Misikir, Snetsehay Assefa, Solomon Yimer, and Mintesnot Kasa, a Hawassa native.

The Scouts interviewed 79 food vendors and shoppers in the Aroge Gebeya area, one of Hawassa's traditional markets. Each Scout selected six best stories to write up. These stories will then be used to inspire design of EatSafe media programs, and to infuse them with relatable and credible local details.

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