Dutch Changemakers and Innovators Community Unite through Storytelling


On the 9th & 10th of February, Ashoka NL organised a 2-day workshop event to bring a part of our Dutch changemakers community together and learn the essence and power of storytelling. In our community, many of us are quite ‘hands on’ in approaching the social problems and challenges we face by coming up with system-changing innovations. However, it tends to be quite difficult in explaining why and conveying its message, even for our changemakers. Therefore, we brought together Ashoka Fellows, Changemaker School Leaders and partners to join forces and work on our storytelling.


As innovators, visionaries and changemakers our network has an essential role in the community and contributing to the enhancement of society. The work of all the changemakers introduces people to alternative solutions and to understand the importance of social change. Successful changemakers and innovators collaborate and activate the community, a very crucial tool to realise all this is the power and capacity of storytelling.


Storytelling entails how we make sense of our world and daily lives, it connects people and inspires empathy. When one tells a unique story one can make portray their ideas to the other and invite them to join in their journey of effective positive change. In itself, storytelling is a tool where storyteller and audience transform through sharing. The journey of crafting one’s own story entails origin, development and vision, this way one can reflect on actions and goals and stay close to their own voice.


With the help of today’s technology, it is easy to share stories although it seems harder to speak up. However, by using certain methods one can effectively communicate their story and use storytelling as a strategic way of changemaking. During the workshops, we were introduced to tools and modules by our facilitator. Mohsin Mohi-Ud-Din. Mohsin is the director of storytelling innovation at Ashoka Youth Venture International as well as the founder of MeWeSyria, a program that is lead by refugees that take on recovery, empathy and community building. Besides these activities, Mohsin collaborates with Changemaker Schools in the USA and Africa to work on storytelling for the changemaker programs and he writes for the Huffington Post and Al Jazeera. Thus, a born storyteller.


Through activities, theoretical information on what parts of the brain is activated during storytelling and working on our personal WHY’s we were successful in discovering our changemaker story as well as create a collective story as the changemakers community in the Netherlands. Concluding, it was very fruitful working on community building, were each participant really felt connected on a personal and individual level as well as being part of the changemakers journey. Right now all participants are prepared to spread stories and ideas to inspire to take action. We’ll keep you posted!