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Human interest stories or case studies aim to highlight a specific development issue from one person’s (or group of people’s) perspective. They are useful as qualitative background to monitoring and evaluation, for organisational learning and programme learning, for campaigns and media communications, and for funding and marketing departments looking for story leads. Their power lies in their ability to bring issues to life, showing the link between ‘macro’ policy questions and the ‘micro’ impacts these have on people’s lives.Their personal quality helps the reader or viewer to connect with, and de-mystifys, complicated issues, such as global trade or HIV/AIDS. They create a bond of empathy and understanding based on a shared humanity. As a result, they have the potential to reveal a complex picture of a certain socio-economic or political reality by depicting one experience of it. This guide was originally written in 2012 and was updated in 2019.

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