ICRW Photovoice Exhibition on Display at USAID

Article Date

25 November 2013

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

There are some 67 million child brides on the planet today. The photographs that appear in this exhibition depict the world as viewed through the eyes – and camera lenses – of 10 such girls and young women in Ethiopia. All of them participated in an innovative program for child brides known as TESFA, which stands for Toward Economic and Sexual/Reproductive Health Outcomes for Adolescent Girls. The three-year long program, which reached more than 5,000 young married adolescent girls in the country’s Amhara region, concluded in September 2013.

Implemented by CARE Ethiopia, evaluated by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and funded by the Nike Foundation, TESFA gave these extremely marginalized girls unprecedented opportunities to learn important information about their health and their economic opportunities, to interact with their peers, and to participate in the social, economic and political life of their families and communities.

Child brides are among the most vulnerable people in the world. They are typically less educated than their unmarried peers. They tend to live in the poorest households. They are socially isolated and overburdened with domestic responsibilities. They have been forced into sexual relationships early, and as a result, frequently have started childbearing before they are physically or mentally ready. In fact, childbirth is the leading cause of death for girls aged 15 to 19 in the developing world. Married girls are also more likely to suffer from violence, and their children are more likely to die in infancy.

ICRW, in collaboration with CARE Ethiopia, used a research technique known as Photovoice to give some of the TESFA participants the chance to take an active role in the program evaluation. The girls were trained in the mechanics and ethics of photography, and over the course of five days in April 2013, they used donated digital cameras to visually document the impact the program had on their lives.

The photos taken by these 10 girls – whose names have been changed to protect their identities – are organized into five categories: education; burden of labor; gender roles; economic and social lives; and sexual and reproductive health. The photos paint a beautiful picture of the experiences the girls encountered during the course of the TESFA project, providing a rare and unique glimpse of their daily lives and challenges, their families, their relationships, their responsibilities and, importantly, their dreams.

As a part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, the exhibition will be on display at the USAID 14th Street lobby of the Ronald Reagan building, Monday, November 25 – Tuesday, December 10, 2013 from 8:00AM to 5:30PM. The exhibition is free and open to the public.