Amina and Faith at the 2022 Cameras For Girls Training in Uganda

2022 Cameras For Girls Training Brings Hope To Marginalized Females in Africa

It’s no secret that girls and women worldwide face real problems, such as discrimination and poverty, which directly affect their ability to get an education and become independent women who can live up to their true potential. We want to ensure these females aren’t forgotten and that they are provided with skills-based training that results in jobs, so in 2018 we created the Cameras For Girls 4-day Photo workshops for marginalized females in Africa. We are proud to announce that we just completed our 2022 in-person training in Uganda for 15 young women endeavouring to become journalists. The training we provided last month was a huge success, and we’re excited to see where it takes these females and the rest of the community!

Girls in our photo 2022 photo training in Uganda

Girls in our photo 2022 photo training in Uganda

The Problem

According to the United Nations, over 200 million marginalized girls live in Africa. Most of these girls will never have the opportunity to attend school, let alone receive photography training. In a continent where over 60% of the population lives below the poverty line, owning a camera is a luxury few can afford. As a result, these girls remain hidden – their stories untold.

For the few that do make it to a university journalism program, even the administrators admit that their training and the ability to provide access to cameras is limited at best. 

On average, there will be 600 students in a four-year program and only 100 cameras to be shared. Most of the content is theoretical rather than practical; thus, when students come out of university and seek a job, females cannot get a job because they must own a camera and know how to use it. Thus Cameras For Girls fills that gap – both by providing a camera and the skills-based training that allows these females to tell stories that matter to them and the communities they come from.

How We Started

In August 2017, the founder of Cameras For Girls, Amina Mohamed, came up with the idea to teach photography to females in Uganda who were endeavouring to become journalists, as she was told that these girls could not get work unless they owned a camera and knew how to use it. On the other hand, males did not have the same requirement, and the universities were hard-pressed, as described above, to provide adequate access to a camera and subsequent training.

Amina has now run three in-person workshops in Uganda and is currently teaching over 100 students through the online portal she has built. Both programs run in tandem; however, the girls receive different supports. 

Amina teaching the exposure triangle to the girls

Amina teaching the exposure triangle to the Cameras For Girls students in Uganda

The 4-day training program in the host country (for now Uganda) provides free photography classes and equipment to marginalized girls in Uganda. They must come from a university program. They are either in their last year of studies or have graduated and are seeking work in the journalism field but cannot find a job due to the issues of not owning a camera nor having the knowledge to operate one. 

The training aims to provide the girls with the skills and confidence needed to pursue careers in journalism and photography. Over the course of 4 days, the girls learn how to use the camera they each receive and tell stories through their photos. They also use their new skills in a field practice day, working with a local NGO in the country. This field practice day allows the girls access to subjects and stories they don’t get access to in the university setting. Two weeks after the field practice day, they share their stories and photos with the NGO, allowing them to use the stories in their marketing and providing the girls with their first real-life experience working with a client.

Changes in the Lives of Students

In many places worldwide, journalism is dangerous, especially for women and girls. Despite the risks, many young women still want to become journalists. They see it as a way to change their lives and the lives of others through the stories they tell. 

In our recent training, the girls learned photography and how to use the camera as a tool for social change. They also met previous students who have taken the training in past years and who share their passion for journalism. 

Brandy Valentine speaking to 2022 class of students in Uganda

Brandy Valentine speaking to 2022 class of students in Uganda

Brandy Azeirwe, known as @Brandycool_ on Instagram, spoke to our students about her experience taking the workshop and what it did to catapult her career. I have written about Brandy before on my blog. Brandy had a slow start after the training because she did not necessarily have the same passion for photography or journalism as the other girls in the course showed. But then she realized that the camera she was given could also be used to do video. Thus, she combined that newfound skill with her passionate voice to start two different podcasts in Uganda. Today, Brandy is working with the local government in Uganda as the conduit between the government and the youth to help government understand the needs of the youth, and in return, the youth understand how to stand up for the change they want to see.

Many of our students have found their path to success using the camera training we provide. Some have gone on to have a career in journalism, while others are working in communications. A few have found a passion for photography. They have started businesses doing portraits, weddings and/or events.

Using the camera as an Educational Tool

It is well documented that skills-based training and education can help reduce poverty and marginalization. Our 2022 Cameras For Girls photo training brought hope to many marginalized girls in Africa. Through this skills-based photography training, they could learn the basics of photography and develop a new skill set. Most importantly, they gained confidence in themselves and their abilities. 

One thing that surprised me the most was that when I handed out the certificates, one of the girls, Faith came to me with a look I can only describe as awe. She was so happy to receive her first certificate of completion ever! We in the developed world take this for granted, but she was so pleased that she was going to save up to buy a frame for her certificate.  

She explained that as a girl growing up in the developing world, she had never had anybody acknowledge her accomplishments or help her achieve something. The fact that she was chosen for the training and had successfully completed the 4-day training meant everything to her.

As the founder, that moment defined every reason I have for what I do through Cameras For Girls!

Amina and Faith at the 2022 Cameras For Girls Training in Uganda

Amina and Faith at the 2022 Cameras For Girls Training in Uganda

The Future Of The Program

Our 2022 photo training for girls was a huge success! We not only provided a 3-day photography workshop, but we also partnered with a local NGO called Concern For the Girl Child to provide our girls with a 1-day field experience, researching and documenting the incredible work they do. 

The response to our photography training was overwhelming, and we had to turn away many girls who were eager to learn. However, we are committed to expanding our programs and hope to double the number of girls we train next year. The skills they learn will help them document their lives and communities and give them a voice that can be heard worldwide.

We are working hard to expand our program across Africa and are in talks with the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. The more girls we can train, the greater their voices will reach.

If you want to assist us to grow, please reach out to Amina at [email protected]

On average, there will be 600 students in a four-year program and only 100 cameras to be shared. Most of the content is theoretical rather than practical; thus, when students come out of university and seek a job, females cannot get a job because they must own a camera and know how to use it. Thus Cameras For Girls fills that gap – both by providing a camera and the skills-based training that allows these females to tell stories that matter to them and the communities they come from.

For the few that do make it to a university journalism program, even the administrators admit that their training and the ability to provide access to cameras is limited at best.  On average there will be 600 students in a four-year program and only 100 cameras to go around.  Most of the content is theoretical rather than practical, thus when students come out of university and seek a job, females cannot get a job, because they require to own a camera and know how to use it.  Thus Cameras For Girls comes in and fills that gap – both by providing a camera and the skills-based training that allows these females to tell stories that matter to them and the communities they come from.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.