ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS OF THE UN THE GREAT LAKES PHOTO CONTEST
On 24 December 2022, the Office of the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region (OSESG-GL) announced "The Great Lakes Region Through Your Lens" Photo Contest (#OurRegionOurVision). The initiative was aimed at showcasing progress and ongoing efforts towards a more peaceful, stable, inclusive and prosperous Great Lakes region, in line with the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region and the United Nations Strategy for Peace Consolidation, Conflict Prevention and Conflict Resolution in the Great Lakes Region.
Nairobi, Kenya (25 May 2023) – The United Nations Office of the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region (OSESG-GL) is pleased to unveil the remarkable winning photographs from its first-ever "Great Lakes Region Through Your Lens" Photo Contest (#OurRegionOurVision). The contest, which ran between December 2022 and February 2023, invited people from or based in the Great Lakes region to submit up to three photos to showcase the progress and ongoing efforts towards a more peaceful, stable, inclusive, and prosperous Great Lakes region, in line with the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region (available here).
After a rigorous selection process, a jury composed of staff from different United Nations entities selected Bahati Chasinga (David) Gloire as the grand-prize winner. The jury selected this photo as the overall winner for the sense of togetherness and hope it conveys, despite hardships. The photo encapsulates what the PSC Framework aims to achieve, not only in the Democratic Republic of the Congo but the wider Great Lakes region. David is an aspiring Congolese photographer and young visual artist who was born in 2004 in Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In addition to the grand-prize winner, the jury also gave honorable mentions to nine other photos. Their photos along with the grand-prize photo will be exhibited at UNON Gigiri and in New York, as well as showcased in OSESG-GL publications. The overall winner will also receive a professional camera.
Below is the gallery of winners:
- David Gloire
Caption: Against the backdrop of a serene sunset, five individuals proudly stand atop a hill in the enigmatic landscape of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. United in purpose, they raise their hands in unison. This captivating image, skillfully captured by Bahati Chasinga (David) Gloire, has been chosen as the esteemed winner of the United Nations Great Lakes Photo Contest. The photo resonates with a profound sense of unity and hope, transcending the adversities faced by the subjects. It serves as a compelling embodiment of the aspirations of the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework, not only within the Democratic Republic of the Congo but throughout the expansive Great Lakes region. David, a promising Congolese photographer and talented young visual artist, was born in Bukavu in 2004, showcasing a remarkable talent beyond his years.
- Amaury Falt-Brown
Caption: In this captivating photograph by Amaury Falt-Brown, a freelance photographer based in Kenya, a farmer and her child are portrayed encapsulating a tender moment that speaks volumes about the resilience and vibrancy of the continent. Born in Haiti and raised in Kenya and Burundi, Amaury's lens captures the essence of everyday stories, aiming to dismantle the prevailing negative narratives surrounding Africa. In this image, Amaury's focus on the farmer and her child serves as a testament to the profound beauty and enduring strength found within the continent's everyday moments. The photo invites viewers to embrace a more nuanced understanding of Africa's narrative, celebrating its people and their indomitable spirit.
- Boniface Muthoni
Caption: Captured by the skilled lens of Boniface Kimani Muthoni, a Kenyan photographer born in 1974, this thought-provoking image portrays a young boy engrossed in fishing activities on Lake Kanyaboli, located in Kisumu County, Kenya. Taken from an elevated perspective, the photo initially conveys a scene of tranquil beauty upon the lake's surface. However, its profound significance runs far deeper for Boniface. Amidst the serenity, he unveils a poignant reality—a poignant reality faced by countless children like the boy depicted in the photograph. While his peers may be immersed in the pursuit of education, this young boy, compelled by unfortunate circumstances, finds himself laboring at an early age to contribute towards meeting the necessities of life. The photo serves as a stark reminder of the social and economic challenges faced by marginalized youth, evoking empathy and highlighting the importance of addressing the barriers that restrict their access to education and a brighter future.
- Grace Ezekiel
Caption: Grace Wanjiru Ezekiel, a 30-year-old photographer from Narok County, Kenya, skillfully captures the essence of resilience in her compelling photograph showcasing local fishermen navigating the waters of Lake Naivasha. What resonated deeply with Grace was the unwavering solidarity displayed by these fishermen, as they persistently faced mounting challenges brought about by the far-reaching impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented flooding of the lake. The adverse effects, attributed to the climate crisis and reflected in increased rainfall across various countries within the Great Lakes region, have further compounded their hardships. Grace’s poignant image not only documents the fishermen’s arduous journey but also serves as a testament to their unwavering unity in the face of adversity. It encapsulates the remarkable human spirit and the ability to find strength in togetherness, emphasizing the urgent need for collective action to address the multifaceted challenges arising from the intersection of the pandemic and environmental crises.
- Guy Gael Nkundiye
Caption: Guy Gael Nkundiye captures the essence of unity and shared experiences in this striking photograph depicting fishermen engaged in their labor on the expansive Lake Tanganyika. Located at the borders of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Zambia, the lake stands as a powerful symbol, forging a common bond among these diverse nations. It serves as a unifying force, linking the four countries in their pursuit of this valuable resource. Born in 1999 in Burundi to parents who made a living through fishing and farming, Guy brings a personal perspective to his photography, offering a profound appreciation for the significance of the lake in shaping the lives and livelihoods of the local communities. Through his lens, Guy masterfully captures the interconnectedness and shared heritage that transcend borders, celebrating the profound unity that emerges from this collective endeavor.
- Joe Mwemez
Caption: Joe Mwemez encapsulates the essence of solidarity with this captivating image depicting interlocked hands in a harmonious circle. Taken within Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, 23-year-old Joe offers a poignant visual narrative. This thought-provoking photograph serves as a powerful testament to the boundless possibilities and collective determination that arise when regional leaders unite, transcending political, cultural, and other disparities, to foster an enduring peace within the Great Lakes region.
- Kevin Ochieng Onyango
Caption: In Siaya County, in Kenya’s Nyanza region, a captivating scene unfolds as two young girls sprint towards their classroom. This powerful photograph, titled "Racing Hope," is the remarkable work of Kevin Ochieng Onyango. In an environment where access to education can be limited for girls, the image vividly captures the girls' palpable excitement and their unwavering aspirations. It serves as a strong reminder of the critical significance of empowering women and girls through education. Born in 1998 within the challenging circumstances of Nairobi's Dandora slums, Kevin channels his passion and talents into the realms of photography and journalism, utilizing these mediums as potent tools of advocacy. Through his lens, he illuminates the stories and realities that demand our attention, and in doing so, fosters a collective drive for positive change.
- Neema Kasoki
Caption: In the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, a surreal scene unfolds as parents tenderly bathe their child, capturing a moment that transcends the boundaries of reality. This captivating image, skillfully captured by 28-year-old Congolese photographer Neema Bongilo Kasoki, takes us on a journey beyond the ordinary, where the act of bathing becomes a deep symbol of unity and resilience, an attempt to wash away the region's challenges. The stark contrast between light and darkness accentuates the ethereal glow of hope that permeates the frame. Neema, driven by a profound commitment to give voice to the voiceless, describes photography as her tool to shed light on the plight of the people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly women and children. Through her lens, she unveils a surreal world that invites viewers to contemplate the extraordinary strength and resilience found amidst adversity.
- Solomon Ngari
Caption: Near the Kenya-Somalia border, a captivating sight unfolds as camels assume a vital role in facilitating cross-border trade and movement of goods and persons. Serving as messengers of peace between communities, these resilient creatures embody the harmonious connections fostered amidst their presence. This compelling image, skillfully captured by Solomon Mwangi Ngari, a 55-year-old wildlife biologist from Kenya, transcends traditional boundaries. Solomon, driven by his training and passion, has discovered the powerful medium of photography to shed light on the challenges faced by impoverished and displaced populations, the profound impact of climate change on both humanity and natural resources, as well as the remarkable biodiversity found within the region. Through his lens, Solomon aims to draw attention to these pressing issues and spark meaningful conversations that promote understanding, empathy, and positive change.
- Warrior Mukura Tsingya
Caption: Renowned photographer Warrior Mukura Tsingya, born in 1999 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, presents a poignant image capturing the collaborative efforts of children as they unite to paint a peace sign onto a wall in Goma using spray paint. Through this remarkable composition, Warrior Mukura reflects upon the profound symbolism of childhood innocence and hope. Recognizing the intrinsic value of peace, he emphasizes that the pursuit and preservation of harmony are vital investments towards enduring tranquility and prosperity.