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Life through a rural lens: new exhibition showcases photos by Ghanaian farmers

31 March 2015 - 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 supplies, 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 Thursday.

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 Donor Communications Adviser, 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 Amanda 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. For details about the launch event on April 2, please contact Zoe Parker: zparker@christian-aid.org

High-res photos from the exhibition are available on request. For images or further information, please contact Tomi Ajayi on 020 7523 2427 or email tajayi@christian-aid.org. (24-hour press duty phone – 07850 242950).  

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

6. PhotoVoice works to engage disadvantaged and marginalised communities by allowing them to represent themselves through photography and digital story telling methods.

7. Kahaila is a community and church run-café in east London: any profits made by the café go towards supporting local community projects and other charitable causes.

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