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Photos give new voice to Ghana's farmers

Christian Aid is hosting a free photography exhibition in east London documenting the lives, successes and concerns of rural Ghanaian farmers, as told through their own eyes ...

Christian Aid is hosting a free photography exhibition in east London documenting the lives, successes and concerns of rural Ghanaian farmers, as told through their own eyes.

Running from April 2 to May 5, the My Home, My Farm exhibition will showcase a series of 'fly-on-the-wall' photographs taken by agricultural workers struggling to survive in northern Ghana.

My Home, My Farm features a series of portraits capturing everyday themes such as water scarcity, food security and women’s empowerment. The images will be on display at the community-run Kahaila Café in east London, following a launch event this week.

All the photographers featured in the exhibition are part of a development project in Ghana, where Christian Aid has been helping farmers to build their agricultural skills, increase their income and get the most out of their crops.

As part of this initiative Christian Aid collaborated with a UK-based organisation, PhotoVoice, to provide cameras and photography training to 42 farmers – the majority of them women – so that they could chart their progress. The exhibition showcases the farmers’ most striking snapshots.

Christian Aid’s Amanda Farrant, said: "Ghanaian farmers are a marginalised group. They desperately need a platform to voice their opinions and tell their stories, as they often go unheard. Putting a camera in their hands gives them a rare opportunity to highlight their needs and take more control over their lives. The result is a compelling set of images that portray a powerful message directly from the farmers.

"This exhibition reflects Christian Aid's desire to engage in an honest and direct conversation with the people on the front-line of the fight against poverty, and to place them squarely at the centre of discussions that determine their development and future."

Visitors to the 'My Home, My Farm' exhibition will have an opportunity to hear some of the positive outcomes of the photography initiative. For example, they will find out how one of the featured photographs, which shows an over-crowded water borehole, has prompted local sanitation authorities to provide an additional borehole for the community.

The women and men behind these photographs are part of Christian Aid's MyPharm project, which has been run by the charity in partnership with a local organisation, Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana, since 2011.

The MyPharm project uses a special SMS service to send local farmers weekly text messages containing advice on agricultural methods as well as up-to-date information on the value of their produce.

"By giving farmers access to market information, they now know exactly how much their crops are worth," said Ms Farrant. "This means they are no longer forced to sell their crops to middle-men at low prices, giving them a higher income and a better chance of escaping poverty. It's a privilege to be able to share their stories - the highs as well as the lows - through the 'My Home, My Farm' exhibition."

'My Home, My Farm' runs from April 2 – May 5 at Kahaila Café, 135 Brick Lane, London, E1 6SB.

PHOTOS

TOP: Local rice for parboiling. Local rice is nutritious – let's eat what we grow.
Photo by Akugre A Cletus

CENTRE: Woman harvesting rice. Photo by Damyoma Isaac

ABOVE RIGHT: Water is life. This is our source of water, about half a mile from my house. Many people who depend on it live further away. Photo by Apam Apamlea

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