Envisioning Resilience

Bringing underrepresented women's voices into climate change adaptation planning

As the effects of climate change continue to unfold, nations worldwide adopt National Adaptation Plan (NAP) processes to identify and address their medium- and long-term priorities for adapting to climate change. The participation of individuals who are at the frontlines of the issue, particularly women, holds immense importance for crafting gender-responsive adaptation measures and for identifying locally-led solutions to climate change. 

Yet, achieving inclusive and participatory adaptation processes is a complex task. In most countries, government actors recognize that it is important for effective adaptation planning to be informed by a diversity of voices, particularly those of women, who are often underrepresented in decision making. The challenge is how to make these dialogues happen in a common and shared language.

Using photography to enable Women on the Front Lines of Climate Change to Share Their Stories​

At Lensational, we believe that photography is a universal language that can help overcome these challenges. Together with the National Adaptation Plan Global Network,  (NAP GN) which supports developing countries to advance their NAP processes to help accelerate climate change adaptation efforts around the world. Groups of women affected by climate change have been provided an opportunity to  to have their perspectives and lived experiences inform their country’s NAP process. 

This initiative, Envisioning Resilience, first piloted in Kenya and Ghana was implemented in close collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency in Ghana and the Climate Change Directorate in Kenya, with financial support from Global Affairs Canada and has more recently we welcomed GirlsCare, a young women-led feminist climate activist movement in Jamaica and Rwanda Women’s Network (RWN) as new partners in close collaboration with the Ministry of Environment in Rwanda. Participants undertake training in photography and storytelling while learning from experts who help them link their observations to climate science, enabling them to develop visual stories that documented their experiences with climate change and their visions of resilience.

Over a period 4-5  months, the Lensational team works closely with in-country photojournalists trained the selected participants, supporting each one as they developed their personal photo projects while also bringing them together to develop a collective story for the group.

Brian Siambi, Kenya trainer working with training photographers Grace Ntesio, Catherine Pilale and Claire Metito during one of the training workshops in Amboseli Kenya

The quality of the photos, given that they were taken by newly trained photographers, is very impressive, in terms of the composition of the photos, the variety of subjects depicted, and the emotion captured in some of the images,” Daze says. “This is a demonstration of the effectiveness of Lensational’s training process, as well as the skills of the photographers providing the training.”

Envisioning Resilience Galleries

We invite you to explore the galleries featuring stories developed by our trained women photographers below.

Visual Stories as a Basis for policy dialogue

The photographs and stories developed by the trained women photographers form a basis of dialogues with policy makers and other stakeholders. These images bring them together for round table discussions, fostering insightful conversations about the depicted narratives. Additionally, an exhibition further amplifies these insights, providing a visual platform to showcase and discuss the impactful perspectives captured in the photographs. 

Ingrid Parchment of Carribean Coastal Area Management and Jamilah Falak a participanting photographer, discussing over one of her photographs during the policy workshop in Jamaica

This presentation has taken me on a journey through my own life experiences. Growing up in rural Jamaica, we didn't have access to running water, so we had to either travel downhill to a river or collect rainwater. At the time, I didn't even realize that what we were doing was called rainwater harvesting. As a teenager, my family moved to an inner-city community in Kingston, which was often volatile and presented similar challenges to those that the young women have discussed today, such as extreme heat.And today being here with my son, kind of did a trajectory for me where he doesn't have to experience the things that I experienced but at the same wanting him to understand that there are others just a few kilometers from him having a very different experience because of climate change."