A church procession through the streets of Lagos, as seen from above. Lagos has a population of 15 million people and is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world.
This selection of photographs was taken as part of a major advocacy project for ActionAid, A8, ahead of the 2005 G8 Summit in Scotland. The images, which come from Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria and Uganda, highlight various aspects of Africa’s many development challenges.
Being acutely aware that the G8 summit would involve eight Western men taking decisions about the economic prospects of much of the developing world, we decided to showcase the lives of eight African women and the importance of the Millennium Development Goals for their future wellbeing. The photographs and stories of these women were used as protest banners for the summit.
Pedestrians avoid streams of stagnant water in the poor neighbourhood of Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Lagos. A World Bank project to drain the swampland in this area was abandoned and now frequent floods in the rainy season cause chaos, discomfort and disease.
Young people dance in the streets of Manzese Squatter Area, one of the poorest parts of Dar es Salaam. This is both a party and a political gathering in support of the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi.
Residents of Ajeromi-Ifelodun, a poor neighbourhood in Lagos, play table tennis in the street on a table that they pay to use.
A woman carries a large number of empty water buckets on her head in Manzese Squatter Area, one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Dar es Salaam. She is on her way to the private water vendor that now supplies the area at great expense, since this World Bank-funded private company closed the free tap nearby.
A woman walks through the muddy streets of Manzese Squatter Area carrying two full buckets of water, which she has purchased from the water vendors, seen left. The Tanzanian government had recently cancelled their agreement with a World Bank-funded private contractor, after they failed to improve Tanzania’s water supply.
A woman next to a row of water buckets at the local water vendor in Manzese Squatter Area. The Tanzanian government had recently cancelled their agreement with a World Bank-funded private contractor, after they failed to improve Tanzania’s water supply.
A group of boys swim in a water hole in the late afternoon, in Vikindu village near Lilongwe. This seasonal pool, like many of Tanzania’s rivers and ponds, could be infected with bilharzia and other diseases.
Ugandan coffee farmer Justine Chesang walks home from the river with her baby on her back, having done the family laundry. Justine has a teaching diploma, but spends her days doing housework and working on the small family plot.
Ugandan coffee farmer Justine Chesang enjoys the first rains of the season outside her house, near Kapchorwa town.
Sugar farmer Lynette Muga and her children hoe a field in Miwani district, Kenya, where she will plant tomatoes for cash. Muga is one of many small-scale sugar farmers who have been forced to diversify into vegetable farming since the local sugar factory closed. Trade liberalisation had allowed cheap sugar imports into the country, resulting in the loss of jobs and income for farmers and workers throughout this community.
Elizabeth Nyanokwi picks tobacco leaves in a field of her one-acre farm in Kuria district, Kenya. Tobacco is her only cash crop, which she sells to international tobacco companies. She earns little profit after deducting the cost of agricultural inputs. Shortage of fuel wood for curing and a lack of protective clothing against pesticides are additional problems for small-scale tobacco farmers in the area.
Abiba Gyarko, with her baby Abel on her back, walks the two miles to her rented tomato farm near Wenchi, Ghana. Her crop must compete with cheap tinned tomato imports from subsidised European farms.
An outdoor classroom at Bweyale Primary School in Masindi Port, central Uganda, where there are one hundred pupils to every teacher. When universal primary education was introduced in 1997, enrolment at this school increased from 573 to 3,000 children.
Head teacher Annet Akugizibwe in an overcrowded classroom at Bweyale Primary School in Masindi Port, central Uganda.
Gladys Ayugi teaches children at an informal school in an abandoned classroom in Masindi Port, central Uganda. This is a special school for children who are too poor to take advantage of the formal education system, because they have to work part-time to support their families. Gladys is paid a tiny stipend to do this job.
HIV/AIDS educator Fernanda Hernandez demonstrates the correct way to use a condom after a drama performance put on by the group OMES in a marketplace in Chimoio, Mozambique. She is a former sex worker and the group is made up of women who are all current or former sex workers. Their presentation, which involves song, dance and drama, is aimed at increasing AIDS awareness and condom use among the general population. It is also particularly aimed at truck drivers and those who sell to them along the Beira Corridor.
Midwife Rustica Banda listens to the foetal heartbeat of a pregnant woman in the maternity ward of Mitundu Community Hospital, near Lilongwe, Malawi. Only two nurses are on duty at a time in this under-resourced rural hospital, which has an average of 200 patients and a dozen deliveries every day.
A woman comforts her very ill sister in the female general medical ward of Kamazu Central Hospital, the second largest in Malawi. Many of the patients here are suffering from AIDS-related diseases. The ward is so crowded that it has been extended onto the balcony, where patients are accommodated on floor mattresses.
It is four am, and night nurse Joan Kadzangwe (right) dispenses drugs at the TB ward of Bottom Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi, where many patients are suffering from AIDS-related diseases. Conditions in the hospital are so poor that some wards have no electricity and patients must sleep on the floor, or in outdoor ward extensions.