Dear Friends of Lensational,
Thanks to your support, Lensational is one of the 20 global semi-finalists at the Hivos Social Innovation Award. The crowd voting phase saw 145,000 votes from all over the world and we were the top 7th project to be chosen. As part of the online coaching by Kennisland, our first assignment is to get feedback from our supporters on our theory of change.
1. For which problem is your initiative a solution? What does it aspire to achieve?
The women across the world still face massive challenges to access quality education, secure economic independence and make their own decisions freely.In many societies exclusions from non-agricultural paid work plus wage differentials and discrimination in labor market have placed women in a disadvantaged position with regards to financial security. For women engaging in paid work, their contribution and commitment to care work are often undervalued. Such undervaluation due to social stereotypical expectations to gender roles would impart emotional burden to women and could further lead to social isolation.
Lensational ‘s mission is to tackle gender development disparity and stereotypes towards women that exists in the developing countries. We believe that creating secure economic independence for women is the right step in achieving the equality, enabling inclusion in the society and having the right to have and determine choices for themselves.
2. What is the core of the idea? What makes it stand out, special?
Photography as a means of gaining extra income serves as a flexible method to cope with the outcome of exclusion such as economic dependence. Economic opportunities for women will provide independence and status for women in the society. Teaching women photography provides a meaningful approach to engage women themselves in transnational feminism, hence build networks of trust intra-nationally and inter-nationally, and address structural constraints to gender justice by scaling out collective action. Photography, as also a therapeutic recreation, aids women in psychological health and self- efficacy.
Photography is a universal language that overcomes illiteracy, as well as a powerful medium to raise awareness of gender issues. However the photography world is dominated by white men who often portray Asian women as powerless victims. We want to give every women an equal voice through photography . “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Women who are traditionally silenced, are denied chance to express emotions. We believe that women feel less fearful and inhibited to start a conversation using the creative and powerful impact of photographs. Women’s emotions and thoughts can be easily expressed through a press of shutter, regardless the restriction of illiteracy.
3. Who could benefit from your initiative? Do you know your target audience? Will your initiative connect to their needs?
Women at the base of pyramid can benefit from our initiative, and our impact has spillover effects to other groups, particularly their children. All that is required is access to a camera and a creative eye to showcase the life around them.
Although we aim at empowering women and girls, we have realized the indispensability of engaging men and boys. In terms of age, Lensational’s photography projects in Pakistan have showed that targeting public school boys and girls around 13 is the most appropriate. 13 onwards is the critical years of value formation. Targeting public schools can also allow us to reach out to their parents, especially women who are housewives.
Our initiative connects to the foremost need of an individual to express. In societies where women’s voices are crushed, photos enable creative liberation and a therapeutic recreation. Our team comes from a wide range of background but we all have experience working with marginalised women in the developing world.
Please comment here if you have any thoughts! We look forward to hearing from you.
All our best,