‘Through the people’s lens’ – stories of development progress told through photography

PhotoVoice has teamed up with UK think-tank the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) for an exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society, London, which will exhibit photos and digital stories by community members in China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nepal, Peru and Tunisia to portray the impact of development as they see and experience it. Crucially, the images aim to give those at the grassroots of development an active voice in telling their own stories of what’s working and why.

The free exhibition will take place at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) from 16 to 26 February between 10am and 5pm on weekdays and 10am and 4pm on Saturday.

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On Thursday 26 February, we will be hosting a special event at the Royal Geographical Society. The event includes a keynote address by Binyavanga Wainaina, acclaimed author and one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, and author of ‘One Day I Will Write About This Place’ and founding editor of Kwani, a literary network promoting and publishing contemporary African writing.

Joining Mr Wainaina will be Nick Danziger, PhotoVoice Patron and winner of the World Press Photo award; and a panel including Mariéme Jamme, a social entrepreneur ranked in Forbes top powerful young African women, and Juliana Ruhfus, a senior reporter at Al Jazeera. Other panelists will be announced in the coming weeks.

The event will explore shifting narratives and images of development progress. With unprecedented access to technology, those at the grassroots can now tell their own stories direct to a world stage. How does this challenge perceptions of development? And what does this mean for the traditional story-tellers – journalists, photographers, film-makers and charities?

After the talks, there will be complimentary drinks and the opportunity to explore the exhibition.

Doors open at 6pm, with the keynote from 7pm. All welcome.

Admission is free but RSVP essential: www.developmentprogress.org/peopleslens

Banner image credit: © Daniel Chuquival Ruiz / Desco / ODI / PhotoVoice

Three years ago there was no light or electricity in my community – it was very dangerous to walk through the streets because they were so dark and dangerous. In that time we did not have any stairs and it was very easy to slip down the hill with the mud when it rained because you couldn’t see much. One day all the neighbours decided to have a meeting to speak about a new law that would bring electricity to some communities but we had to apply. Slowly but surely a lot of contractors began to arrive due to the strength and the pressure that we all put on this new law. Immediately all the neighbours started to work on the roads to allow the machinery to come up the hills and in more or less a year, the hill started to shine and all the roads came off the infinitive darkness. I will never forget that day.

By Daniel Chuquival Ruiz, 16
Resident of Virgen de la Candelaria, Peru

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