From the photographer: Arete in Africa

Photo: Moses Sawasawa

At Arete, we seek to tell stories that make a difference. Our assignments take us across the globe, working with some of the world’s most renowned NGOs, supporting their vital work delivering humanitarian aid. Utilising a network of local experts in photography, video, and digital, we ensure our stories are told from authentic perspectives.

Our ‘From the Photographer’ series is a collection of first-hand accounts from our photojournalists as they carry out their assignments. Through the additional medium of writing, they are able to elaborate on the situations depicted in their photographs; relaying their thoughts and emotions in the moment, as well as everything that may have occurred outside of the frame.

Over the years, our ‘From the Photographer’ series has covered natural disasters such as Cyclone Idai, the chaos caused by the COVID-19 lockdown in Colombia, Ebola in the Congo, and the national polio vaccination campaign in Somalia.

In our latest addition to ‘From the Photographer’, we have created a mini-series with some of our skilled photojournalists from Africa. They each selected one single image to symbolise the unprecedented local effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We then shared these stories every day across our social media. Below, you can explore each one in its entirety:

Ismail Taxta — Somalia

Photo: Ismail Taxta/ DECArete

“After three weeks when the cases of the Coronavirus have increased in Somalia, I went out to for a four-day photography assignment of about how the disease is spreading in the country, and the role of the health workers at this crucial moment, the general public awareness of the prevention of the disease, the fear and the effects of the poor people who live in makeshift houses on the outskirts of Mogadishu.

The hospital doesn’t have adequate oxygen apparatus, the medical staff in the hospital told me that several patients who have been admitted in the hospital have recovered and discharged, while some other have succumbed to the disease. While you are in the quarantine centre you feel a lot of fear, because some people are in a very serious situation.”

KC Nwakalor — Nigeria

Photo: KC Nwakalor

“Faith Osi pours water on her head to cool down while working on her family’s cassava farm in Obrikom, in the heart of Nigeria’s oil-rich delta. Around the world, the poor and marginalized are much more likely to be vulnerable to extreme heat; methane gas flares burning around the clock in Obrikom make this already hot area worse still.”

Angela Jimu — Zimbabwe

Photo: Angela Jimu

Fourteen-year-old Tanatswa Chasakwa stopped going to school when they closed early in March due to Coronavirus. Now she spends her time indoors or around the yard.

“Before the lockdown, I used to go to school. The thing that I miss the most is participating in group sports like hockey, we missed the whole season of hockey and that was sad.”

Brian Ongoro — Kenya

Photo: Brian Ongoro

Developing a vaccine to protect people from the potentially deadly effects of the COVID-19 virus is a priority for scientific institutions across the world.

“Here a medical officer takes a COVID-19 sample at the laboratory of Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in #Kisumu, western Kenya.”

Moses Sawasawa — Democratic Republic of Congo

Photo: Moses Sawasawa

“I took these pictures at the #Majengo market, the day after the confirmation of the first case of Covid-19 in #Goma. The country had closed its borders and declared a state of emergency the previous week. The capital Kinshasa was confined and health authorities asked all Congolese to respect social distance.

Informal sector workers with few savings and often no electricity for refrigeration, they cannot buy food for more than a day or two. This creates a permanent demand for small business and markets.

At the same time, informal workers have no form of social protection and the Congolese health system is riddled with problems. So a sick person can bring ruin into a family. Yet people continue to go to markets not because they don’t care about their health, but because they can’t do otherwise.”

Isak Amin — Somaliland

Photo: Isak Amin/ doTERRA Healding Hands Foundation/ Arete

Isak, pictured here in the right of the photo, is part of a team documenting the story of a new specialist hospital complex funded by the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation in Somaliland.

Annie Mpalume — Zimbabwe

Photo: Annie Mpalume

Johanne Maswoe Apostolic Church members are waiting for rice donated by their leader, Madzibaba Mose in Highfield. The COVID-19 pandemic threatens an already critical food security situation in Zimbabwe.

Kelvin Debirdz — Kenya

Photo: Kelvin Debirdz

“Life goes on. A mural from Plan International, portraying the safety precautions to curb the spread of the Coronavirus in Nairobi, Kenya.”

Sunday Kiir — South Sudan

Photo: Sunday Kiir

Lockdown has led to many people being isolated and emergency services overstretched. As a result, there has been a reported increase in sexual violence against girls in South Sudan.

“A coalition of activists staged a protest demanding an end to impunity for rape and violence against women and girls in the country.

The women’s march was sparked after Eye Radio reported the rape of an eight-year-old girl in Gudele-a Juba suburb.”

We source and manage local experts in photography, video, digital and written content from around the world to help you tell stories that make a difference, working with you in the office or the field.

Contact us to find out how we can help you make an impact through exceptional storytelling and targeted communications strategies.

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From the photographer: Arete in Africa was originally published in Arete Stories on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.