Story Sourcing in Birnin Kebbi, Nigeria

In January 2021, Story Scouts sourced stories amongst informal food market vendors in three markets in the city of Birnin Kebbi in northwest Nigeria. Story Sourcing is the semi-formal process that uses journalistic techniques to gather stories directly from the audience of interest. These stories will be used to create resonant and culturally relevant media interventions that integrate food safety messages and behaviors.

In Birnin Kebbi markets, three Story Scouts conducted 61 in-depth interviews with various food vendors. From these interviews, they selected 24 (eight each) stories to write up. Scouts interviewed primarily Hausa men and women aged 18-70 years old who sold a wide variety of foods, including staple grains, vegetables, meat, fish, and oils.

The Story Sourcing approach focused on gathering stories about different aspects of the lives of food vendors. The result was a multi-faceted montage of their world and the discovery of several themes which emerged from their stories, including service to others, resilience and motivation, women in the market, learning from errors, occupational hazards, pride and success, religious norms and values, seizing market advantage, and reliance on the government for business help.

These stories and the themes therein will guide the development of resonating media programs that feature food safety messages and behaviors (e.g., SBCC media such as radio dramas, videos used in training, etc.).