Photographers have a chance to add their voice and perspective to the growing conversation on the worsening deforestation crisis in Malawi.
This is courtesy of the Sounding The Alarm photography competition which is being jointly supported by the Modern Cooking for Healthy Forests in Malawi (MCHF) and the Association of Environmental Journalists (AEJ).
MCHF chief of party Ramzy Kanaan said the art competition is a continuation of the work they have been doing with AEJ in promoting investigative and fact-based reporting on the forestry sector.
He said through their collaboration, a number of professional journalists have researched and published stories highlighting corruption in the sector.
Kanaan said: “We believe that providing people an opportunity to recognise the scale of the deforestation crisis presents a creative opportunity to document, raise awareness and advocate for change.”
The competition is open to those above 18 years and entries will be accepted online under specific themes.
The photos will be reviewed and evaluated and monetary rewards will be given. The winner will take home K80 000, the first runner-up will receive K40 000 and the second runner-up will get K20 000.
Thirty finalists will also receive K10 000 each.
Kanaan said among the considerations to be made in determining the winners will be adherence to the themes, creativity in line with the themes, originality, audience appeal, colour, lighting, exposure and focus and uniqueness of concept.
AEJ president Mathews Malata said the photo entries may be used in a forestry dossier which will be jointly published by AEJ and MCHF.
He said the compilation will highlight the driving factors of deforestation such as the increasing urban demand for and consumption of charcoal.
On his part, Photographers Association of Malawi president Lucky Mkandawire said: “This is a very welcome development because it shows that society appreciates photography as one of the steady tools to document the country’s worrying deforestation.
“Images not only convey critical details, but also inspire emotional reactions. But the organisers need to review the prizes as they are not motivating at all.”
The purpose of the competition is to engage Malawians using media platforms and products in the conversation on the deepening deforestation crisis in the country, driven by urban demand for illegal and unsustainably produced charcoal
The competition’s theme is Sounding The Alarm: Malawi’s Forests on the Brink, which is a USaid and UKaid-funded project.
Participants are allowed to send as many as 10 entries, out of which only three will be shortlisted. The competition runs until September 16.