Stories from Rhino Camp

Overview

Stories from Rhino Camp is centred on a participatory photography project being completed with eight farmers from the Rhino Camp area of north-west Uganda with the agricultural company Gulu Agriculture and Development Company (GADC) .

The aim of this project is to explore any issues farmers in the Rhino Camp area are experiencing in terms of agriculture. This includes but is not limited to: knowledge of different crops and growing patterns, long-term changes in weather, availability of equipment and training, gender roles, deforestation, and broader environmental changes. A key aspect of the project is exploring the refugee resettlement programme in the Rhino Camp area, in doing so, understanding how refugees have rebuilt their lives in Uganda and engaged in agriculture.

The intention of this project is not simply to allow participants to represent themselves by taking photos to generate interesting and unique content for consumption by a Western audience. At its core, the project aims to use the stories shared by participants to raise awareness about the issues faced by farmers in the Rhino Camp region of Uganda and bring about change through the sale of participant images for a tree nursery in Rhino Camp.

"This lady is preparing sorghum before the rains arrive which can ruin it if it is left out.

That in the past, rain used to start from March. Then you would use that first rain for preparing land, and then April would be for you to plant. It will continue like this and you would find the growth of the plant would be very good. At the end of it you get very good yield. But now - you see, there is no rain. There is very little rain to prepare and plant the land. "

Rose Akandru © / GADC / Divesh Mistry Photography

Methodology

Advocates of participatory photography highlight that research participants are actors rather than objects of study. In generating content, participants are empowered in the knowledge production process, and are provided with an avenue for self-representation. The technical aspects of capturing images are covered by the facilitator, but the images themselves are intended to be a reflection of the realities, values and ideas of participants.

The project was established by providing an open call for volunteers who were informed that they would be involved in an agricultural based research project. From these volunteers an equal gender ratio, range of ages and equal national community and refugee community representation was ensured within the participant group. The latter criteria was important as the exclusion of nationals from programmes can cause a perception that refugees receive additional and greater benefits from living in the Rhino Camp area. Following the selection of participants, seven workshops were held where participants were trained in photography and given the opportunity to caption and discuss their photos further. At the conclusion of the workshops a exhibition was held in Olojobu Primary School where participants presented to their community about the work and issues facing the area.

Participants

Local children find themselves or family members in the photos taken by participants in the project.

Wani explains the stories behind his series of photos to two local women visiting the exhibition.

Using Format