In December 2016 we invited our project team members to submit photos to a contest that would help build a portfolio of images for our new website. We received close to 100 photos from six countries depicting various aspects of CIRDI’s work including community engagement and research, artisanal and small scale mining, peer-to-peer learning, training and knowledge exchange. We longlisted 33, shortlisted eight and after much deliberation by the judges, selected three photos as winners. We congratulate the winners and are grateful to all who took the time to submit their photos, many of which will be used to tell CIRDI’s story on the new website. (Watch for the launch later this spring).
Here are the three winning photographs with commentary from each of the photographers.
My name is Karl Penhaul. I’m working with CIRDI as an independent consultant helping scope out and set up a pilot project for artisanal and small-scale gold-mining in post-conflict Colombia. This photo was taken in November 2016 at a small-scale, illegal gold mine along the Bebara River, in Colombia’s jungle-covered western Choco province. The woman was one of a small group of villagers scouring for gold using traditional wooden pans in one area of the mine. The scene interested me because it was an example of how the community council and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army (FARC) had brokered a deal with mine operators to permit regular access by villagers to carry out “subsistence” gold panning in an effort to spread income from gold a little wider at community level. As many as 70 per cent of the gold panners in this region are women, according to the River Bebara Gold Panners’ Association.
My name is Abdhalla Mussa Njowele. I have been working as an electrician at the Salvation Army’s headquarters in Tanzania, East Africa, for nearly 20 years. Every summer I work as a research assistant for Professor Vinay Kamat from the University of British Columbia, in rural Mwtara, located on Tanzania’s border with Mozambique. I was born and raised in Mtwara, which is now the site of a large natural gas extraction project. I took this photo in August 2016 en route to a small island called Namponda, where we were scheduled to conduct a household survey as part of a CIRDI-funded project on the gas project. This was one of the many photographs I took of the survey team as I was entrusted with the task of documenting the terrain and the people who inhabit the villages that were slated for the survey – a total of 840 households in 10 villages. This photo reveals the travails of a team of research assistants doing fieldwork and survey research in places that are often difficult to reach and where the only means of transportation is a small dingy. This photo also reminds me of the survey team’s camaraderie – their willingness to smile and support one another even when traversing rough waters.
My name is Marie-Luise Ermisch. I am a program manager at CIRDI, responsible for the Institute’s work in Mongolia. Currently CIRDI is collaborating with the International Cooperation Fund (ICF) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia on a peer-to-peer learning workshop series focused on the state’s involvement in resource projects in newly democratized countries. This photo was taken in June 2016 in Khögno Tarna National Park in Mongolia. It captures Mongolia’s stark, natural beauty and the herder’s place within it in. It also serves as a reminder that as Mongolia becomes increasingly reliant on mining, there is great potential for the state to provide leadership in environmental stewardship and the protection of Mongolia’s cultural heritage. Finally, this photo also represents Mongolian hospitality. The owners of this ‘ger’ were my hosts and kindly shared their traditional lifestyle with me.