Background: Greenpop Zambia
We are excited to be part of Greenpop’s tree planting and eco-education program based in Livingstone, Zambia. The aims of this project are to provide a holistic solution for the deforestation and consequent ecological and socio-economic impacts in Livingstone and its direct surroundings. Greenpop is doing is by starting a reforestation process, developing a culture of planting trees within communities through eco-education, encouraging alternative energy sources so that people can move away from their dependence on charcoal, and promoting sustainable forest management. The overall aims are to spread awareness of the environmental issues we are facing, to create value for trees within the community, and to activate people to reverse the deforestation trend. This project was started by Greenpop, a South African based environmental NGO.
Mission: Conservation Through Photography
In partnership with Ilizwi Photo Club, a Cape Town based NGO that runs photography workshops in underprivileged communities, we are proud to be running a photography workshop within the context of Greenpop’s program. Through this workshop, we’ll teach a group of young Zambians photography skills and encourage them to document environmental issues in their area. Our aim is twofold:
Photography skills: Through our workshops, we teach people basic to advanced technical photography skills and encourage creative self-expression and story-telling skills.
Environmental documentation: Through specific assignments, participants document the causes and effects of deforestation and climate change in Livingstone and its surrounding areas. By giving the workshops a focus on environmental issues, we teach our young photographers both how deforestation is effecting their communities, and how they can be involved in raising awareness about this.
We’ll be working with ten Zambians between the ages of 19 and 24. For various socio-economic issues, they have not been able to study at tertiary institutions or find jobs. With a specific focus on the environment, we will teach our participants photography and story-telling skills. We will encourage them to explore the environmental issues facing their region through their lenses, and communicate this story in a powerful way. We’ll also focus on critical thinking, problem-solving skills, team collaboration, and the contribution to changing communities and environments.
After running a successful pilot last year, this workshop will be the start of an on-going photography program in Livingstone. Through a continuation of our workshops, we eventually aim to equip young Zambians with skills, connections and resources to study photography or filmmaking, or to gain employment in the creative industry.
“This project set me on a path I had for so long discarded, which now, I realize, is my true passion. I am saving up because I will be studying film production in London, so with that said, Ilizwi does more for young people than you realize. It will change the lives of many in ways you can not imagine, which is the beauty of it all.”
– Emmanuél Wayne, workshop participant, Zambia
The photography workshop that will be run in Zambia is based on the process of Photovoice. Photovoice is a participatory visual research method that uses photography to bring about ‘positive’ or ‘meaningful’ change amongst marginalized and minority peoples or communities. Here, individuals are able to use a visual medium to raise awareness, create conversation, and create agency around issues that matter to them most. they are able to depict their own experiences as opposed to someone else voyeuristically doing it for them.
The medium of photography amplifies the voices of subjects who may have been perceived as voiceless or passive previously. It is important that youths who have remained voiceless (whether due to political, economic or social factors), or who have “always been researched, described and interpreted by the rich and educated” become actively involved in or even take charge of research and representation on them. After all, they best know their situation and have perspective on problems and needs that no outsider can fully share.