COVID-19 photo series: Capturing the forgotten narratives
The COVID‑19 pandemic and its aftermath is creating a deep shock on the African continent, with different implications for men and women. Women are serving on the frontlines against COVID‑19, and the impact of the crisis on women is stark. Women face compounding burdens: they are over-represented working in health systems, often continue to do the majority of unpaid care work in households, face high risks of economic insecurity, and face increased risks of violence, exploitation, abuse or harassment during times of crisis. The pandemic has had and will continue to have a major impact on the health and livelihoods of many vulnerable groups and women are among those most heavily affected.
On the other hand, women are playing an outsized role responding to COVID-19, including as frontline healthcare workers, caregivers at home, and as mobilizers in their communities. As the crisis intensifies around the world and particularly in Africa, it is clear that if we truly want to deliver health, wellbeing, and dignity for all, girls and women must be front and center in the emergency responses, in social and economic recovery efforts, and in how we support our health systems post-pandemic. At this pivotal time, communities and governments must safeguard the progress made towards gender equality, including hard won gains for social, economic, political and cultural rights.
In hindsight of the above, the COVID-19 photobook project in East Africa is exploring how to bring to the fore the various often regarded as “small narratives” in the context of the broad scope of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project aspires to be a platform that archives the lives of women adversely affected by the ongoing health and economic crisis. The repository will provide a platform for a wide variety of visual narratives and the project continues to collect narratives on relevant themes related to the crisis i.e. the health emergency, the economic backlash, social struggles and personal consequences. The ultimate goal is to create a stable space to gather meaningful visual material that can in return make attempt to understand what is happening, how, why and how the aftermath can be addressed. The COVID-19 Photobook Project represents a collective memory that hopefully we can all learn from.
The creation of and selection of the photos that make up the photobook and the repository will be a collaborative effort amongst multiple people including activists, subjects of the project and professionals across the East Africa Region. The products from this project will be used in subsequent phases to connect the East African struggles which will produce a series of exchange visits among beneficiaries of the projects, cooperating on further joint action and organise long term interventions among the established progressive groups in the region.
There are three volumes and Each volume was produced in collaboration with an organization:
Voices of Resilience in Uganda was put together with the Uganda-based National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), which strengthens local communities and is committed to environmentally conscious development and environmental protection. https://www.rosalux.de/fileadmin/rls_uploads/pdfs/engl/VoR/VoR_Uganda_NAPE.pdf
Women Entrepreneurs’ Stories of Resilience amidst COVID-19 was produced with the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), a non-governmental organization working on trade, fiscal and development related issues for the realization of sustainable development and improved livelihoods in Uganda, East Africa, and the African region. https://www.rosalux.de/fileadmin/rls_uploads/pdfs/engl/VoR/VoR_Uganda_SEATINI.pdf
Women’s Struggles, Resilience and Power during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Kenya was made with the Coalition for Grassroots Human Rights Defenders (CGHRD), a Kenya-based social movement of grassroots activists, feminists and community organizers. https://www.rosalux.de/fileadmin/rls_uploads/pdfs/engl/VoR/VoR_Kenya_WHRD.pdf