Sankofa - Storytelling for the digital age

Sankofa - Storytelling for the digital age

Sankofa is a storytelling project led by CDEC that has been working with schools across three countries in Europe to combine traditional storytelling techniques with digital technologies to explore local to global themes.

Thanks to funding from Erasmus+, CDEC led a partnership with three other organisations (SOSNA from Slovakia, Global Learning London, and SEVER from the Czech Republic). Working with schools, the partners gave pupils the opportunity to gain skills in both storytelling and online recording, editing and sharing across national borders. Coronavirus made much of this work very difficult but the project adapted and highlights came out of the work being done.

Teachers developed their skills to prepare children to think critically about local to global themes. Participants crafted their own language and digital skills, as well as their global awareness.

Head to the Sankofa website to find a host of resources and to see what we've been up to. There are films to watch, workshops to delve into and activities to use right away. You can also follow the Sankofa Facebook page here.

Using stories to build understanding and develop skills for the future

Everyone involved took stories from their own and other cultures to explore learning from the themes. And they created new stories to contribute to a sustainable future in our interconnected world, particularly focusing around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In the UK, the project enriched primary school curriculums in the following areas:

  • English, particularly through speaking, listening and drama opportunities
  • PSHE, through building self-confidence, emotional health and wellbeing, creativity and presentation skills
  • IT, developing pupil’s digital skills

What does 'Sankofa' mean?

'Sankofa' is a word in the Twi language from Ghana, which can be translated as "go back and get it". This encapsulates our project and understanding in the power of storytelling: that storytelling allows us to better understand the past, so enabling a more creative and successful future.

Who took part?

In Cumbria, we worked with eight schools and their Key Stage 2 teachers to develop storytelling and digital skills. 

By the end of the two years, we involved hundreds of pupils to explore storytelling, test the approach, create content and stories linked to the SDGs and we cascaded the learning across Cumbria and beyond.

What was involved for schools and teachers?

Schools and teachers developed their understanding of storytelling as an educational tool through focus group sessions run by CDEC. We worked with them to:

  • develop the digital storytelling platform
  • create a practical Learning Guide for other teachers to introduce methodologies as well as a toolkit of tried and tested practical classroom activities (being published soon). These provide a comprehensive resource to inspire other teachers to use Sankofa storytelling methodology in their schools. 

In the classroom, teachers worked directly with pupils to:

  • develop confidence in storytelling skills
  • use critical thinking to explore stories from the past and those they hear and see around them today to create new stories for the future and share on the digital storytelling platform
  • access stories written by children in the partner countries.

Online Workshops

At the end of the project, we also ran a series of three online workshops together with our UK project partners at Global Learning London. They shared our experience and our knowledge gained through the project and aimed to inspire other teachers through the activities and resources we could share: in total, over 300 teachers and youth leaders attended them.

You can watch the workshop recordings here:

Gender Equality and Storytelling

Led by Debbie Watson from CDEC

Anti-racism Through Storytelling

Led by Alia Alzougbi from Global Learning London


Storytelling as a Wellbeing Tool

Led by Jane Yates from CDEC