We've been admiring the work of our Accra mates, Lensational, for a while now, so we thought we'd spread the good word. Lensational is a social enterprise that is committed to sharing women’s stories through the transformative power of photography and videography.
The aim of the organisation is to empower marginalised women in developing countries by teaching them basic photography skills to give their unheard stories a voice, develop confidence and develop a base of strength.One of our resident campaign photographers in Ghana, Francis Kokoro, has been working with young women in this programme since the beginning of 2017, teaching and developing their photography skills.
Lensational in Ghana is run and programmed by our good friend Juliane Reissig.
She was was stoked to hold their first exhibition showcasing the work of the female photographers on the topic of ‘Women and Work’. What a lot of people don’t know or realise is that women make up the largest proportion of small traders in Africa but are usually pushed into working the informal sectors due to issues like local corruption and a lack of access to finances. Lensational aims to create better exposure through their programme of the barriers faced by these women, as well as the significant contribution of women in African Economies.
"What a lot of people don’t know or realise is that women make up the largest proportion of small traders in Africa but are usually pushed into working the informal sectors"
‘Women and Work’ travels to the marketplace of Ho, Ghana, to shed a light on the lives of the women working here, giving each woman a unique platform to be seen and heard, presented through the individual and unique personal perspectives of the six photography students selected to present their work.
(Pictured above and left is Ghana's Yam Festival captured by photographer Antoinette Dumegah. The joyous celebration sees the women of the Volta Region celebrate the harvesting of Yam in a festival of dance, story-telling and performance.)
Through this exhibition, we as the viewer are given an insight into the lives of these women, the various roles they have to play in their lives. Between (usually) raising children and caring for an entire household while running a business that they have kept alive and passed down through generations, being in positions of work that are usually seen as a ‘man’s’ role, and just the daily hustle that these women go through in both rural and urban settings to make a living to support themselves and their families, the girls and the stories they share confirm our belief: that when you empower a woman, you empower a nation.
"The girls and the stories they share confirm our belief: that when you empower a woman, you empower a nation."
Photographer Bernadette Young, wanted to investigate in particular how many women in this marketplace were able to choose for themselves their future in business. She was inspired when she met Mama Esinam (pictured), who runs a smoked fish stand at the marketplace. She learnt the trade and took over the business from her own mother, who’s portrait she holds in this shot.
The programme in Ghana is organised in cooperation with KickStart Ghana, a Ho-based charity that works to enhance educational opportunities for Ghanaians. The programme is an extra-curricular education opportunity for the girls to discover and fulfil their potential, unleashing their creativity and talents and opening doors to a professional field that is very male-dominated in Ghana.