Corporate Responsibility & Communications: Demonstrating That You Are Giving Back

With globalisation, the availability of information, and heightened awareness of social and ecological issues, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become ingrained in most brands and there is a widespread belief that corporations have a responsibility to society, for example by engaging in or supporting ethically oriented practices.

Arete is the expert storytelling agency, empowering NGOs, UN bodies, charities, and corporate entities to document the positive work they do and to communicate the benefits in effective ways.

Climate change is bringing corporate responsibility into focus. But a company’s footprint is often more complex than carbon alone. Consumers are now astutely aware of a wide range of issues, and with information travelling so quickly, they wield a collective power to hold companies to account.

 

Giving Back

CSR represents an opportunity for a corporation to endear itself to consumers – becoming a brand which people want to associate with.

Marks & Spencer for example is one of Kenya’s largest tea and coffee retailers. In 2006 it became the first major retailer to switch all its tea and coffee to Fairtrade. Since then, it has continued to strengthen relationships with Kenyan suppliers, providing education and expert advice to help farmers improve their production and become more sustainable.

From 2013 – 2017 Arete produced a range of content documenting Marks and Spencer’s presence in Kenya and the community projects they invest in. These materials included a magazine article and photo and video content.

Read an overview of Arete’s work with M&S here.

 

Taking Responsibility

Corporations are expected to nullify any negative impact their work might have on local people; as well as improving community services. In 2019, Arete supported Shell by documenting the resettlement of residents in Kazakhstan after an expansion of Shell’s operations required them to be rehomed for their safety.

43-year-old school teacher Svetlana Vladimirrovna outside the new house she was given after being forced to leave her home in the village of Berezovska because of the potential dangers of gas leaks from the expanding Karachaganak gas field.
Photo: Kate Holt / Shell / Arete

“Twenty years ago, I couldn’t even imagine having my own house”

Svetlana Vladimirrovna

When there are strong feelings around corporate activities, Arete believes it is important to communicate with openness and transparency. For this particular project, our team captured photo content and produced written work which included statistical information, to create a set of photo stories. At Arete, we empower people to tell their own stories as much as possible, so first-hand interviews play a leading role. When working with Shell it was no different:

“We are comfortable with this. We are resettling together with others from our village and many people from there will be next to us as neighbours.”

Svetlana Geimur, who was also resettled during the project.

Women who are in the process of relocating from the village of Berezovska to a newly built community share a cup of tea in Kazakhstan.
Photo: Kate Holt / Shell / Arete

First-hand testimony is particularly important when it comes to corporate social responsibility, as it can instil a deeper sense of trust and demonstrate the tangible impacts on community members.

Read an extended piece from Arete’s work with Shell here.

 

Seasonal Campaigns

Around the festive period, we see CSR play a central role in many marketing strategies. With increased consumer activity and a collective sense of good will and sentimentality over the holidays, it is a good time for brands to align themselves with positive causes that are in-keeping with their brand identity.

The annual release of the John Lewis Christmas advert has become something of a seasonal tradition. Always emphasising the company’s warm, homely, family values, the advert last year also took the opportunity to highlight an 18-month project John Lewis has undertaken in collaboration with charity partners Action for Children and Who Cares?

“We are fortunate to have a truly unique platform in our Christmas ad, which sparks a national conversation. As a purpose-led brand, making a genuine difference in our communities is important. At John Lewis we care deeply about families, and recognize that they come in many different forms. For our biggest moment of the year, we decided to focus on one kind of family that is often overlooked.”

Claire Pointon, customer director at John Lewis, actionforchildren.org.uk

Charity Partners

In a similar vein, Arete partnered with Youth Business International and Google.org to publicise their Rapid Response Programme. The Google-funded programme offered support to micro, small and medium sized businesses struggling to get through the unprecedented effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in 32 countries across Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

Arete produced photo and video content which documented project initiatives including crisis helplines, targeted advice and signposting, and online training through webinars and mentoring. Google employees also took part in the project by volunteering to share their knowledge and expertise, helping business owners to upskill and adapt to the challenges they were facing.

This partnership allowed Google to make a real difference to the lives of business owners around the world, while aligning themselves with the values of enterprise, digital entrepreneurship, and online business with which they are so closely associated.

Rias, a 28-year-old female entrepreneur, takes pictures of her Lupis Cakes at her home in Indonesia. Thanks to Youth Business International’s COVID Rapid Response and Recovery programme, she was able to transition her business to the online space, enabling her to work to order.
Photo: Yunaidi Joepoet / Youth Business International / Arete

Arete was able to distil the vast impact of Google’s investment into powerful individual stories, like those shown in the photo and video above. It is this ability to cut straight to the most human elements of every project that makes Arete adept at telling corporate social impact stories. Identifying key points of interest and creating a sense of empathy by telling stories at an individual level with high quality content is the best way communicate the importance of one’s work. After all, giving the audience something they can relate to on a personal level will live much longer in their memory.

 


Our award-winning journalists, photographers and content providers are eager to help you make a difference.

Contact us to find out how we can tailor our expertise to meet your needs.

 


“Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive”: Why Use Animation for your Health Campaign?

 

“Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised for quick mass appreciation.”

– Walt Disney

Arete is the expert storytelling agency for NGOs, UN bodies and foundations – we tell stories that make a difference – raising awareness, communicating vital information, and moving people to action. Through our specialised consultants, we use a variety of media, including photography, writing, film-making and animation.

All of these are powerful vehicles for storytelling; but in some contexts the need to be clear and concise is the number one priority to ensure messages are retained. In these circumstances, animation has proven to be a particularly effective medium, especially for health campaigns. As we come into Flu season, health concerns amongst beneficiaries are a concern for many charities and NGOs, and there is a heightened need to communicate effective health messages to large numbers of people. The Covid-19 pandemic brought the importance of health communication into stark clarity, and seasonal spikes of both Flu and Covid-19 are now expected going forward.

With insights from Arete animator Jody Clarke, this piece will explore animation as a medium for crafting effective health campaigns.

“90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster than text”. (Hubspot)

It is often said that we live in an age when visual content has outstripped written and audio media. But when and why is animation more effective than film? At Arete, we use first-hand video footage in most of our campaigns, but for health campaigns, most of the time we recommend that animation takes a leading role. The reasons for this are touched upon above by one of the greatest storytellers in history. While Walt Disney used animation for very different purposes, he identified why animation is so useful in a public health context. Animation can operate beyond the limitations of film; while certain things are very difficult to capture on camera, the only limitation of animation is the imagination of the animator and their audience. Animation can be used to depict or communicate just about anything. Its versatility and ability to communicate explicitly also make it very effective, as health campaigns are often required to both engage the imagination and communicate very precise actions that cannot be misinterpreted. As a means of communication for “quick mass appreciation” animation can effectively straddle cultural and linguistic barriers, crossing borders and getting information to a large number of people very quickly – which is essential for health campaigns.

 

Through animator Jody Clarke, Arete collaborated with the World Health Organisation to produce this animation, explaining how Monkeypox is transmitted, its symptoms, protective measures, and follow-up actions for anyone infected.

 

Capture Attention

With so much visual content out there, attention spans are shorter than ever. Animation can grab attention and spark imagination, getting important messages across by communicating quickly and efficiently:

“Animation can hold an incidental viewer’s attention a lot more than a video counterpart, as the limits with what can be done are literally endless. There is a vein of curiosity that runs through a viewer’s mind as they simply don't know what's going to happen next”

– Jody Clarke

Animation can convey something as mundane as hand washing in colourful and engaging ways. Limitless control over movement, scale and colouration draw attention to certain details, ensuring key information is retained.

Key messages can be easily compressed for use on a range of digital platforms, or in-person gatherings where time is limited; as shown by this shortened version of the same WHO animation:

 

Live Long in The Memory

As well as having the ability to grab and hold attention, animation gives one the tools to ensure a message is not easily forgotten, with the ability to create unique aesthetics, using distinctive colours and even creating memorable characters to tell a story:

“I think animation is a fabulous multi layered form of communication… the tone can be set with the style of the visuals, colours, the fluidity (or not) of the animation, it isn't restricted to JUST the message as it would be with a video or email”

– Jody Clarke

 

Simplify The Message

Animation can be used to convey complex messages and even abstract concepts. The power to create any scenario and use metaphor through raw visuals gives animators the ability to break the laws of nature in a way that would seem out of place in film. By playing with scale, animators can shrink or enlarge items for emphasis. Animation also allows smooth integration of narrative storytelling and statistics, making key data more impactful, informative, and engaging.

The freezeframe above circles back to isolate parts of the message – condensing them for digestibility, distilling the message into memorable visual bullet points.

The example above uses fading and scale to add emphasis, in this case to show social distancing.

 

A Universal Language

Animation can also be particularly useful if content is intended to be used in different languages, effectively communicating through visual storytelling and symbolism alone. Leading with and highlighting symbols can also help the audience learn and identify symbols which may be important in a wider context – for instance warning symbols on food products or medication.

Cultural and social sensitivity should be central considerations in tailoring content to the audience and striking the right tone. Animation provides the flexibility to adopt a wide range of tones that may seem out of place in film. The WHO Monkeypox animation is the perfect example, giving a  light-hearted feel to a subject that many may find alarming. Choices including colour, music, and voice-over all ensure that viewers do not feel alarmed. Animation is a medium associated with positivity, approachability, and light-heartedness, and the endless creativity it provides equips the animator for tackling taboo subjects where there may be fear surrounding the topic.

Yellow polka dots used to denote rash.

“I feel it was a great piece that effectively communicated the rather delicate message, and hopefully it will have raised awareness enough to make a dent in the figures”

– Jody Clarke

The WHO example addresses the subject in a positive way, making recommendations seem simple and straightforward and adopting a tone of friendly solidarity with viewers.

 

Arete produced the example below in collaboration with an NGO on the topic of Reproductive Choices. The NGO provides a variety of reproductive and educational services that empower women and girls to decide if and when they would like to become pregnant. The animation adopts a very different tone to the WHO example, integrating film and animation to address an extremely difficult and emotive topic.

“I have produced a few charity videos on very distressing subjects, that really could only be presented to universal audiences as animations. I think a representation of the subject, rather than the subject itself can often dissolve a barrier when it comes to engaging with the topic. A piece on child abuse was once animated with silhouetted stills, a kind of softly animated slide show in stages to be as delicate with the subject as possible - but then intercut with the occasional hard cut and BANG to simulate a child's shock when a table is banged etc. This proved to be quite an effective way to convey the subject matter”

– Jody Clarke

The animation alternates between explicit illustration and encoded representation in order to make the subject matter palatable to its audience.

 

Emotive Control

Emotion is the greatest communicator available to us. While the majority of emotive content is made up of well-edited first-hand footage, film can also introduce factors that distract from the core message or the desired emotional reaction.

Human factors like the performance of actors, or beneficiaries feeling uncomfortable on camera can introduce distracting body language. Factors beyond one’s control, such as unforeseen issues with filming on location, can also detract from the focus. Conversely, through animation one can control setting and remove ambiguity from characters, exaggerating facial expressions and depicting emotion through symbolism.

At Arete, we empower people to tell their own stories as much as possible. It could be argued that using primary footage is a rawer form of testimony, but as demonstrated by this example, using animation actually allows one to get closer to the basics of an issue.  By means of a flashback, the animation offers a window into the personal experience in a way that would not be possible with words and film alone.

 

Rapid Response, Timeless Asset

Health crises often emerge quickly and develop even faster. Agile communication is vital to keep up. A huge benefit of animation is that it is quick to conceive and produce, with minimal resources and personnel. It is also free of the many obstacles one can face when collecting footage on location.

Recommendations and statistics around health campaigns can change rapidly, and animations are much easier to update with new information when compared to film. So, animation can be used and reused, with the added benefit that older animation does not appear as visually outdated as old footage. Providing an asset for long term use in a wide range of contexts, Arete has produced animation for television, social media, events, and as advocacy tools for distribution to key decision-makers.

If you’re embarking on a health campaign, the perfect piece of animated content could go a long way towards achieving your goals. Speak to our experienced animators today and find out how we can help.


Animation is just one of the many ways our award-winning content providers can help you make a difference.

Contact us to find out how we can tailor our expertise to meet your needs.

 


From The Photographer: Arete in East Africa

Arete is the expert storytelling agency for NGOs, UN bodies and foundations, and has been working across East Africa for more than twenty years. Our talented photographers, journalists and videographers support Arete by gathering content for emergency appeals and documenting the life-saving impact of UN agencies and NGO’s; telling the stories that make a difference.

After four successive seasons without rain, communities across East Africa are facing the worst food crisis in 40 years. 

‘One person is likely to die of hunger every 36 seconds between now and the end of the year in drought-stricken East Africa as the worst-hit areas hurtle towards famine’.

  • Oxfam

The World Food Programme estimates that there are 89 million people who are acutely food insecure, and 16 million children and pregnant or lactating mothers are now malnourished.

The situation is being exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine, which has shocked the global supply chain. According to WFP – the world’s largest humanitarian agency focused on hunger and food security – 11% of the world’s grain was provided by Ukraine before the war. Crucially, 40% of the wheat that provided staples for WFP’s emergency food relief programmes came from Ukraine.

With no sign of relief for the people of East Africa, Arete has maintained a presence on the ground, collaborating with bodies like WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), who continue to work tirelessly to provide vital aid. Using our consultants’ experience and knowledge of the region, it is Arete’s mission to keep the crisis in the public eye, to ensure that as many people as possible get the help they desperately need.

In our ‘From the Photographer’ series, we showcase the important work of our consultants and give them a chance to share their thoughts and experiences around their powerful imagery.

This edition of ‘From The Photographer’ is dedicated to our work in East Africa:

 

Abdulkadir Videographer

“I have been a video journalist since 2008. I’ve worked for different international and national TV and other organizations. For the last 5 years I've been working for Arete as a freelance videographer covering humanitarian stories in Somalia

In Somalia there is severe drought caused by four consecutive years of no rain so I am now witnessing people suffer with hunger and sickness. Last April, I was capturing footage in an IDP camp and witnessed a little boy dying of disease”.

Abdulkadir produced the video above in collaboration with actor Dominic West and the World Food Programme for their emergency appeal.

 

Brian  – Photographer

Redempter poses for a photograph with her son at their home in Kenya. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) provides social protection measures to vulnerable families through cash transfers in partnership with Kenya’s national and local governments.
Brian / WFP / Arete

I am a photographer based in Kenya with over 5 years of experience documenting stories of impact and change. I specialise in documentary, editorial, and commercial photography.

I started in written journalism but wanted another way to tell stories, so I taught myself photography to complement my writing. Then over time, I completely switched to storytelling through images. I have worked in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and Zanzibar."

Kamene and her daughter Zipporah harvest pigeon peas at their farm in Kenya.
Brian / WFP / Arete

"It is common in this region to experience drought and floods due to the extremes of the wet and dry seasons. I have worked during floods caused by heavy rains. I was covering Western Kenya, and the heavy rainfall caused rivers to break banks and flood the areas around. This caused the displacement of people from their homes, disease and massive disruption.

So many people lost their lives and families and had to go through a system of identifying their loved ones and reunification in cases where their loved ones were found in other parts of the region. The floods caused massive disruption and it took months to rebuild communities.”

Polina poses for a photograph in her wheelchair in Kenya.
Brian / WFP / Arete

 

Moustapha – Photographer

“I am a photographer and trilingual translator and have been a photographer for four years. I have worked with local and international humanitarian organizations that work in in Somalia and have worked more recently with Arete."

Abdi eats a meal with his siblings in Somalia. FAO increases access to food, water and basic necessities and protects livelihoods for severely drought-affected communities in Somalia.
Moustapha / FAO / Arete

"Working in Somalia during the last few years of drought, I have encountered many situations that shook my heart and challenged my faith in humanity".

Jama, a farmer, holds tomatoes and corn at his farm in Somalia.
Moustapha / Arete / FAO

"In early 2021, while on a photography assignment covering the impact of the drought in one of the IDPs on the outskirts of Mogadishu, I met a pregnant mother with 4 children and as usual I started taking photos of her and her children and all of a sudden, she burst into tears. I stopped taking photos, put the camera aside and asked her why she was crying, she said to me:

‘It has never crossed my mind to come to an IDP camp because back before the drought happened, we were wealthy people, we had many livestock, we had a farm, and we were prosperous. Our livestock have perished in this drought and the farm has been badly affected.

We have been displaced from Bakool. On our way here, my eldest son died on the road due to thirst and hunger. When we came to the IDP, the suffering and the living conditions here made me want to return to where we have come from'

To me, the story of this mother gave me more of an idea of the severity of the drought in Somalia than all the news I have read on the internet.”

A group of children smile and pose for a photograph in Somalia.
Moustapha / FAO / Arete

 

Isak – Photographer

Isak is a Somali photographer based in Somaliland and has worked with Arete for the last 7 years.

Farmer Mohamed and his family, settled far from home while following their livestock to pasture in Somaliland. FAO supports agropastoralists in Somaliland to strengthen their resilience through increased income from improved fodder value chains and provision of information for action.
Isak / FAO / Arete

 

A boy holds a lamb in Somaliland.
Isak / FAO / Arete

 

Mohamoud, an FAO beneficiary, poses for a photograph in Somaliland.
Isak / FAO / Arete

 

Ismail  – Photographer

Ismail is a photographer based in Somalia.  Having worked for Reuters and other major news organisations over the past two decades, Ismail has extensive experience in Somalia and across East Africa.

A farmer stands next to the remains of a dead cow on his farm in a drought-stricken area of Somalia. FAO helps to build the capacity of smallholder farmers across the entire value chain, focusing on production, post-harvest loss reduction and market linkages to improve food security and nutrition at the household level through collective action, aggregation, and the strengthening of cooperatives.
Ismail / FAO / Arete

 

(From left to right): Abdiasis Mohamed Siyaad Dahabshil, Amal Bank Manager; Farhana Carte, Chairwoman of Hiiraan Women Association; Ali Osman Husein, Deputy Chairman of Social Affairs of Beletweyne; and Nadar Tabah Maalin, Mayor of Beletweyne, admire produce from a stall at the agri-business trade fair for farmer cooperatives in Somalia.
Ismail / FAO / Arete

 

A boy plays in Somalia.
Ismail / FAO / Arete

 

East Africa is a complex and sometimes difficult region in which to operate. But the experience, expertise and resilience of our talented consultants mean that Arete can continue to work quickly and effectively, reacting to the current crisis as it rapidly evolves, and ensuring that the voices of the millions on the brink of famine are heard and that their stories told to the world.

 


Our award-winning journalists, photographers and content providers are eager to help you make a difference.

Contact us to find out how we can tailor our expertise to meet your needs.


“No one is listening to us”: Helping those affected by Floods in Pakistan to be heard

When the deluge of monsoon rains first hit Pakistan in mid-June, there was a disturbing feeling that the floods, which have plagued the country over the past two decades, would return. But as unprecedented rainfall showed no signs of slowing, it became clear that this monsoon season would be more devastating and widespread than ever before.

“With one third of the country under water, at least 1,100 people killed, and 6 million more in desperate need of food, water, medical assistance and sanitation, these are the worst floods Pakistan has ever seen.” (DEC)

Homes, schools, and livelihoods were washed away in minutes. The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) through its fifteen member charities have responded quickly, providing life-saving services, and launching a fund raising appeal to enable its charities to get help to those who need it most.

Arete is the expert storytelling agency for NGOs, UN bodies and foundations. We specialise in telling stories that can help make a difference to those most in need. When launching the Pakistan Floods Appeal the DEC contacted Arete for support with collecting high-quality content; providing experienced photojournalists, videographers and writers to gather stories about those most affected by the floods. These first hand accounts have provided valuable content for its multi platform fund raising.

 

https://twitter.com/decappeal/status/1570677198889050115?s=20&t=-PnUGQhHK_4bd3zZFOYOdQ

 

In the video above, gathered by Arete video journalist Naveed Yousafzai, Manzoor, who used to support his family by farming land near his home, echoes the sense of hopelessness felt by many in Pakistan

“We have no facilities here and now the floods have come. No one is listening to us.”

Isolated, without any connection to the outside world, separated from all he knows by miles of floodwater, Manzoor’s dejection speaks to the heart of Arete’s work. When disaster strikes, telling the stories of those most impacted, ensuring that their stories are heard, and action is taken to help them, is at the essence of our work.

With people’s life’s work washed away in the blink of an eye, and dehydration, starvation, and disease increasing by the day, there is no time to spare in getting those stories out. When NGOs, UN bodies, and foundations launch an appeal like this, they come to Arete to utilise our well-established, far-reaching network of consultants. With talented contacts in countries all over the world, Arete quickly provides a team, usually comprised of local photographers and videographers, experienced in going into the most difficult situations and coming out with high quality content.

The DEC launched their Pakistan Floods Appeal on September 1st, and with the help of content produced by Arete, had raised £15 million by September 4th. Just two weeks into the appeal, the total reached £25 million on September 15th.

 

 

Arete Production Manager, Charlotte Johnston and Production Lead, Jacqui Norman-Smith were responsible for the rapid deployment of consultants on the ground:

“We got a call on the Wednesday (31st August) that the team needed to leave that day to drive to an area and start filming and photographing the following day. However, just before the team was about to depart, the DEC realised that aid trucks weren’t able to travel to that region because of the roads – so they weren’t going to get the shots they were looking for. So, plans changed and flights had to be booked for the following day for the team to fly to Karachi.”

Jacqui Norman-Smith

“On an internal level, we had to re-plan the following weeks in terms of Production and Post Production Team time, to ensure DEC was being fully serviced in an emergency capacity… In order to meet the level of demand, we booked in freelance staff to cover the increase in post-production work and to ensure that tight deadlines were being met”.

Charlotte Johnston

 

But with a developing situation like this, and unforeseen obstacles arising, planning ahead is only one small part of the challenge, and constant flexibility is needed.

“Due to the ever-changing environment, we were finalising briefs with the DEC until the 11th hour for the next day, to accommodate for constant obstacles such as road blocks, travel plans, the safety of our team, and aid activity for us to document… Working in such challenging environments – the floods had affected one third of Pakistan – meant that the safety of our crew was always at risk. The Production Team had to work hard to ensure our crew health was made a priority from the get-go while they were on assignment, checking that they had access to clean water, food, accommodation, transport etc.”

Charlotte Johnston

“Given the fast-moving timeline of disaster zone projects such as this one (plus the difference in time zones), constant and clear communication with our crew, and clients, was vital to us being able to deliver and excel in such challenging circumstances.”  

Charlotte Johnston

 

A man uses bamboo sticks as a boat, Pakistan, September 2022.
Akifullah Khan / DEC / Arete

“Our team on the ground struggled with access to electricity, Wi-Fi etc – things that those who aren't living these experiences might take for granted. This meant that we had to structure our internal teams to fit in with ground staff's working hours, e.g. 11pm UK time to be able to process the footage being sent to us and deliver it in a speedy manner the next day”

Charlotte Johnston

 

Video Journalist Naveed Yousafzai and photojournalist Akifullah Khan were two of Arete’s consultants. Both based in Pakistan’s Peshawar District, they journeyed into Sindh Province, which had been particularly badly affected by the floods.

“After reaching Hyderabad, the second-largest city in Sindh Province, we met our driver, Noor Din. Noor Din told stories of the flood, so my heart sank that the doomsday that broke ten years ago had fallen on the poor farmers and labourers again, and this time it had become more intense.”

Naveed Yousafzai

 

Floodwater covers a road, Pakistan, September 2022.
Akifullah Khan / DEC / Arete

 

“On the way to Khairpur Natanshah, he saw people on the main road who were helpless and waiting for help i.e. drinking water, food, medicine etc.”

Naveed Yousafzai

 

Raim stands with her family in front of her temporary shelter, Pakistan, September 2022.
Akifullah Khan / DEC / Arete

 

“We saw people distributing rations, so we also stopped for a while. All the people were crushed on this small truck without even realizing their injuries.”

Naveed Yousafzai

 

DEC charity Islamic Relief Pakistan provides emergency response to people affected by floods, Pakistan, 2022.
Akifullah Khan / DEC / Arete

 

“All houses completely destroyed, even food and clean water are not available… your own children, old parents, and siblings are hungry, and you are completely helpless. This was very painful”. 

Naveed Yousafzai

 

Hamza stands in front of his house, which was destroyed by floods, Pakistan, September 2022.
Akifullah Khan / DEC / Arete

 

“To my surprise, when we reached Sindh, the situation was worse than what I expected. The flood had devastated Jamshoro, Dadu Mitiyari and its surroundings. Submerged houses, roads, buildings left people with no choice but to take shelter on higher grounds near to their homes. There were not enough boats to help people. No food, no water, and destroyed houses were the story of everyone.”

Akifullah Khan 

“After reaching Khairpur Nathan Shan the road was blocked due to flood. I requested the local boat owner take us to the middle of Khairpur Nathan Shan city, which is completely destroyed, people are still there waiting for help… He did not want to take us because people are drowning there and they may get into the boat and we all will drown.”

Naveed Yousafzai

 

A boat carries people to land, Pakistan, September 2022.
Akifullah Khan / DEC / Arete

 

“After begging for half an hour, he agreed to go with us. When we were in the boat, I saw many young men who were swimming in the flood water, they started begging us to take them in the boat. We said we are unable to take them because the boat is small. We promised to inform emergency workers.” 

Naveed Yousafzai

“We didn’t know that most of the roads would be under water when we reached the field. In Dadu we hired a local boat and visited different locations. We were worried about ourselves as well as the equipment as there were people wading in water and in some places tried to get into our boat. There was literally no help for them on the ground and I felt guilty when we passed by them. They thought we brought food or water for them, they didn’t know we were only there to capture the situation.”

Akifullah Khan

“The most challenging part was being unable to help people. But I was mentally ready because of my previous experience working with civilian victims, swat operations, and journalistic experience of working in Afghanistan.”

Naveed Yousafzai

“I have worked on many different projects in different situations in the last decade, including a USAID funded project for Civilian Victims Support Program back in 2012-2015, which was focused on stories of victims of terrorism in Pakistan. I have seen horrors of man-made and natural disasters that have made me stronger to fulfill my duties even in hard times. But as a human, it always hurts deep when I see people in pain.”

Akifullah Khan

 

A boy waves at a passing boat for help, Pakistan, 2022.
Akifullah Khan / DEC / Arete

 

“I was upset when I realized that wherever we went, people expected we were there to help. Then we had to explain that we will bring help and the reasons why we were shooting. Most of them cooperated with us and I was so happy when the help finally arrived on the fourth day in Khairpur.”

Akifullah Khan

“In my field of work, we come across situations where on the spot we cannot help people the way they need it, but I believe when your duty is done the right way it does bear fruits”

Akifullah Khan

 

While consultants like Sohail and Akifullah can feel powerless, their bravery, resilience and professionalism have helped ensure that millions have been given a lifeline by DEC partner charities funded by the appeal, and that millions more will recover their livelihoods in the long term.

 

“I am happy that at Arete we were able to help the people in need. In the initial days of the shoot, I was a bit skeptical about the possibility of helping those people as they were in desperate need of food and water, yet we tried to them that help will reach them. I was hoping that after seeing our photos and videos someone will reach out to support the flood victims. On the fourth day when I reached the food distribution point in Khairpur, I felt so happy to see the Islamic Relief team and the food items being delivered to the flood victims.”

Akifullah Khan

"The foremost challenge faced by our team was the severe weather, which was quite hot and it was challenging to work there. However we have ample experience to deal with such situation and how to cope with the environment, therefore although it was challenging, by the grace of Allah we completed it in the given time."

Sohail Fareed

 

DEC charity Islamic Relief Pakistan provide emergency response to people affected by floods, Pakistan, September 2022.
Akifullah Khan / DEC / Arete

 

“The resilience of the consultants out in the field has been amazing. Without them, we would not have been able to get the great content that we got. Thank you to the teams for being understanding when plans were changed last minute, when they were unwell but insisted they were fine to go and gather content that day, and for delivering great content daily to us. Our Post Production Team was also great. They were able to follow up if there was any consent/content missing, and they were able to process the footage in a timely manner and write case studies, sometimes with limited information. On an emergency project like this, it is very important to have a team that is able to work under pressure and able to deliver content on time”

Jacqui Norman-Smith

 

Millions of people in Pakistan need help to recover their livelihoods. Learn more and donate to the DEC appeal here.

 


Our award-winning journalists, photographers and content providers are eager to help you make a difference.

Contact us to find out how we can tailor our expertise to meet your needs.


Pictures That Tell the Story: One Year on From The Taliban Seizure of Power in Afghanistan

It has been one year since the U.S withdrew from its 20 year presence in Afghanistan, the Afghan government collapse and the Taliban seizure of power in Kabul. After an immediate scramble to leave the country, it quickly became clear that the biggest threat to the Afghan people would be an economic crisis.

Before August 2021, much of the Afghan economy was dependent on foreign assistance. The shock of the US withdrawal, ensuing sanctions and freezing of foreign exchange reserves after the Taliban seized power has left millions of normal Afghans in dire need.

The impact of decades of war, unpredictable climate, and recurrent drought have combined to force nearly 20 million people into high levels of acute food insecurity (according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification). Malnutrition is widespread, and families are desperate, with the World Food Programme reporting that 1 in 3 Afghans are hungry, with 2 million children malnourished.

The global landscape has also changed. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a food crisis has been felt around the world, with World Food Programme supply chains particularly badly affected – disrupting their ability to deliver vital aid to Afghanistan.

Despite this, and despite complex security and logistical challenges, NGOs and charities remain committed to stay and deliver aid to the Afghan people. Arete has stayed with them to tell their stories, and to tell the stories of the individuals who need support in the face of an unfolding humanitarian crisis.

Through our journalists, photographers, and videographers, Arete has been working in Afghanistan to help ensure that this does not become a forgotten crisis. We pride ourselves on telling the stories that make a difference – staying in places that are difficult to work in – especially when attention begins to drift away. Personal stories, told through quality content are the only way to re-engage people and move them to action.

The following photographs were taken by Arete while working with NGOs and UN agencies over the last year.  

 

World Food Programme: September 2021

Afghans continue to struggle to receive money as cash shortages persist. Crowds gather outside a bank in Afghanistan, September 2021.
Photo: RM / WFP/ Arete
Drought is affecting two out of three provinces in Afghanistan. A local farmer cuts dried wheat grass in a field in Afghanistan, September 2021.
Photo: RM / WFP/ Arete
A woman begs for money on the street in Afghanistan, September 2021. Men and women across the country struggle to find work.
Photo: SN / WFP / Arete
Wazir, a 32-year-old mother of five, does embroidery as her children sit next to her in their home in Afghanistan, September 2021. Wazir and her family are struggling to source food and she says there is no work for her, her husband, or her children anymore.
Photo: SN / WFP / Arete
A butcher in September 2021. Vender and customers both suffer as food prices are forced up, due to the unstable political situation.
Photo: SN / WFP / Arete

 

Disasters Emergency Committee: December 2021

Families hope to receive medical treatment for their children, Afghanistan, December 2021.
Photo: OK / DEC / Arete
The foot of a child being treated for malnutrition in Afghanistan, December 2021.
Photo: OK / DEC / Arete
A boy at an IDP Camp in 2021. More than 8 million people are on the brink of famine as drought, conflict and the Covid-19 pandemic cause a catastrophic rise in hunger.
Photo: RM / DEC / Arete
IDP camp, Afghanistan, December 2021.
Photo: RM / DEC / Arete
Mahnaz prepares food outside her home compound in Afghanistan on 24th December 2021. DEC provides support to member organisations such as Action Against Hunger who provide feeding programs and mobile medical outreach support.
Photo: RM / DEC / Arete

 

CAFOD – Catholic Aid Agency: May 2022

Armina holds a small bowl in her hands in, Afghanistan, May 2022.
DEC member CAFOD has worked with its partner Caritas Germany to provide cash distributions for families to buy food in Afghanistan, where 95% of people do not have enough to eat.
Photo: RM / CAFOD / Arete

 

Staying in Afghanistan and telling the stories that need to be told is a vitally important task. Monitoring the changes that take place in a region and reflecting them in visual and written content that does them justice is a challenge that takes tact and understanding. If your project demands that you report on these changes, Arete can support you.


Our award-winning journalists, photographers and content providers are eager to help you make a difference.

Contact us to find out how we can tailor our expertise to meet your needs.

 

 

 


#Arete67: Arete Unites Behind Community Heroes for Nelson Mandela Day

“It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.”

 – Nelson Mandela

 

In 1990 his story inspired communities around the world to rally for his release from prison. In 1994 people once again united around him to force an end to the brutal system of apartheid. Nearly three decades later the legacy of South Africa’s great anti-apartheid leader, and first black President, remains as inspiring as ever

Having suffered unspeakable brutality during his 27 years spent behind bars, with 18 years spent on the notorious Robben Island, Mandela’s desire to find peaceful solutions, his relentless perseverance, determination, and benevolent & understanding approach to change, all remain powerful symbols of human capacity for good.

His legacy lives on in many forms; the United Nations has designated Nelson Mandela Day, which falls every year on Nelson Mandela’s birthday – July 18th. 

The day was first designated in 2009 and Mandela used the opportunity to reiterate his cause.

“It is in your hands to make of the world a better place. And so, every year on Mandela Day, we ask people around the world to take action and inspire change by making a difference in their communities”

– Nelson Mandela July 18th 2009. 

 

My 67 Minutes

More recently, the ‘My 67 Minutes’ campaign has encouraged people to spend 67 minutes of their time – one for every year Mandela fought for social justice – to do something for someone else or their community.

#Arete67

As the experts in telling stories that make a difference, this year Arete decided to show its support for Nelson Mandela Day by sharing stories of inspirational community leaders from around the world, individuals that treat every day as if it is Nelson Mandela Day. Through this initiative we aimed both to celebrate the dedication of these, often unsung, heroes, and to inspire others to follow their example.

We asked our network of brilliant photographers to submit images of people, along with a few words, that exemplify the selflessness, sacrifice, and community spirit of Nelson Mandela Day.

 

Emmanuel Tombe: Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala

Emmanuel is an Arete photographer based in South Sudan. He chose to share an image of Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, the Catholic bishop of Tombura-Yambio diocese in South Sudan. When he was nine months old, The Bishop’s mother was killed when his village was attacked and destroyed. He lived with his grandmother in a refugee camp for 5 years and his early experiences helped form his dedication to peace and education. He was also involved in providing pastoral services on a huge scale during the Sudanese Civil War.

 

Mussa Uwitonze: Boniface Mudenge

Based in Kigali, Rwandan photojournalist Mussa Uwintonze was orphaned by the genocide of 1994. His submission, Boniface Mudenge, personifies forgiveness and reconciliation in the face of extreme collective trauma.

 

Vijay Pandey: Medha Patkar

Based in New Delhi, India, Vijay submitted a picture of Indian activist and former politician Madha Patkar.

 

Brian Ongoro

Based in Kisumu, Kenya, Brian submitted the mental health advocacy of BBC Africa Digital Video Journalist Gloria Achieng.

 

Kevin Gitonga: Esther

Kevin shared a picture of unsung community hero Esther, who was trained as a local health worker by Amref Health Africa – an African-led, African-staffed non-profit that reaches millions of people per year across the continent. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kevin Gitonga (@kevgitonga)

 

Kate Holt: Sister Monique Bonogo

Arete founder and director Kate Holt shared a picture of Burkinabe midwife Sister Monique Bonogo.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kate Holt (@kateholtphoto)

 

Mamadou Diop: Koffi Aya Christine

Living in Dakar, Senegal, Mamadou has worked in many places across the continent. He shared two photos of CGAP (Consultant Group to Assist the Poor) agent Koffi Aya Christine in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire. The CGAP works to advance the lives of poor people, especially women, through financial inclusion. Local agents like Koffi play an important role in facilitating relationships between customers and financial service providers by sharing knowledge with customers. 

 

A massive thank you to all the photographers who took part in #Arete67. The example of Nelson Mandela proves that the virtues of one can inspire millions to action, and this small sample of incredible individuals just goes to show that the world is rich with such examples. If we celebrate them and tell their stories in a way that does them justice, their dedication to others can spread.

In this world of limitless, instantaneous information, the stories that we give precedence to have a major influence on our values & where we place importance – with selflessness, or with greed, with love or hate etc.

If each single inspirational example can inspire a few others to action, then the effects can spread across the world – so that every day, instead of asking ourselves what we have gained for ourselves, more of us ask: “what have I done to improve the surroundings in which I live?” - Nelson Mandela. 


The right story, told the right way, really can change the world. 

Our award-winning journalists, photographers and content providers are eager to help you make a difference.

Contact us to find out how we can tailor our expertise to meet your needs.


UKRAINE WAR EXPLODES GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: Millions at risk of starvation by Russian Blockade of Ukraine

 

“We’re running out of time and the impact of inaction will be felt around the world for years to come”

  • David Beasley, Executive Director, WFP

 

Arete is the expert storytelling agency for NGOs, UN bodies and foundations. We specialise in directing attention to the world’s crises where millions of people are put at risk.

This month, Arete is focussing on the millions suffering from global food shortages caused by the war in Ukraine, struggling to feed themselves and their families.

Russia invaded Ukraine four months ago, plunging Europe into its worst war since 1945.  As well as the suffering of millions of Ukrainians, the dead, the wounded, the divided families, the refugees, shattered lives, the ramifications are spreading far wider. According to the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), millions of people all over the world are now at risk of starvation as a result of Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian grain exports.

Before the war, 11% of the world’s grain was provided by Ukraine, according to WFP – the world’s largest humanitarian agency focused on hunger and food security -  with 400 million people a year fed by staples like wheat shipped from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Crucially, according to the WFP, 40% of the wheat that provided staples for its emergency food relief programmes came from Ukraine. As a result, as a knock-on effect of Putin’s invasion and blockade, the WFP says that 44 million people globally are at risk of starvation, in countries such as Mali, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. These are fragile countries, riven by complicated political, social and environmental forces – and of course still recovering from the economic devastation of the covid 19 pandemic. Many of them are also facing severe drought.

These food shortages are on top of the suffering caused by the global rise in fuel prices, created by the war in Ukraine.

Russia has so far ignored the WFP’s calls for the blockade to be lifted and the situation, says the WFP, is urgent.

David Beasley (centre of shot) on a WFP visit to Kabul, Afghanistan in 2021.
Photo: Sadeq Naseri / WFP / Arete

Arete is working closely with WFP, Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), World Health Organisation (WHO) and other NGO’s, providing both first person testimonials and powerful images to shed light on the lives of individuals suffering food insecurity – and the risk of starvation - compounded by the war in Ukraine:

 

Afghanistan

In March, the UN reported that “A staggering 95 per cent of Afghans are not getting enough to eat, with that number rising to almost 100 per cent in female-headed households”.  According to the WFP, the war in Ukraine, on top of Covid-19 and drought, has left 23 million with food insecurity in Afghanistan.

“It is a figure so high that it is almost inconceivable. Yet, devastatingly, it is the harsh reality,” said the deputy head of the UN assistance mission, UNAMA.

In March, at an emergency pledging conference, the UN only raised half of the $4.4bn it had asked from world leaders to help alleviate the crisis: the war in Ukraine was diverting vital aid and attention away from the situation in Afghanistan, a country which only weeks before the Russian invasion had being heavily covered by the media.

Darya and some of her ten children at home in Mazar-e-Sharif. The family are dependent on DEC’s aid packages, May 2022.
Photo: Muhammad Muhsen Rasekh / DEC / Arete

Darya and her family are just a few of the millions at risk of starvation if the blockade on Ukraine’s grain exports is not lifted. Darya is 43 years old. She lives with her husband, five of her ten children and mother-in-law in a rented house in Mazar-e-Sharif. Although Afghanistan does grow wheat, a combination of drought and conflict have severely impacted grain production. Darya moved there from Dawlat Abad district two years ago to escape drought and poverty, where her husband, who is now in his sixties, was becoming too frail to work as a casual agricultural labourer. Her five daughters are now married with their own husbands and families.

Darya and her family are beneficiaries of Islamic Relief’s DEC funded humanitarian aid project.  Darya was earning $1-2 a day, doing laundry and baking for families in their neighbourhood. They depend on the food they receive from Islamic Relief: 100kg flour, 6kg oil, 7kg peas:

“Before we received this, our life was extremely hard and I strugged to feed my children,” said Darya. “Now they have access to nutritious food.”

Workers load sacks of fortified wheat flour onto trucks at a WFP warehouse facility in Kabul, May 2021. Families like Darya’s depend on this grain. Shortages and rising costs of wheat have put increased strain on its ability to provide vital aid in Afghanistan.
Photo: Andrew Quilty / WFP / Arete
Mohammad is pictured in his wheat field that is irrigated by the “Unity Canal” in the village of Dasht-e Rof in Takhar province’s Kalafgan district in Afghanistan, May 2021. With the support of WFP, the “Unity Canal” was built to irrigate farmland for the communities in the district and surrounding districts, thereby helping to bring about an end to the animosity between various groups.
Photo: Andrew Quilty / WFP / Arete

WFP has worked in Afghanistan since 1963.  Their work helps to ensure that aid reaches the people most affected by conflict and disastery. They support projects that help transform the lives and livelihoods of individuals and communities, with a special focus on women.

Rations of high protein baby food at a Targeted Supplementary Feeding Programme health clinic in Aten Jelow village in Badakhshan province’s Argo district in Afghanistan, May 2021.
Photo: Andrew Quilty / WFP / Arete
Hijran is measured by a doctor while he assesses her for signs of malnutrition at a Targeted Supplementary Feeding Programme health clinic in Aten Jelow village in Badakhshan province’s Argo district in Afghanistan, May 2021. First, Hijran’s height, weight and upper arm circumference were measured and, with those measurements indicating moderate malnutrition, rations of high protein baby food were supplied.
Photo: Andrew Quilty / WFP / Arete
Bibi, is pictured in a small room in her home where she makes dairy products such as yoghurt in Takhar province’s Kalafgan district in Afghanistan, May 2021. WFP provided her with training in dairy production as well as equipment, which she uses for production. Bibi is providing income for her family by selling the dairy products at the local bazaar.
Photo: Andrew Quilty / WFP / Arete

Here is how you can support the WFP in Afghanistan: https://www.wfp.org/emergencies/afghanistan-emergency

 

Somalia

Salado Ibrahim Maney and two of her children in Baidoa, Somalia.
Photo: Ismail Taxta /WHO /Arete

Salado Ibrahim Maney is just one of the hundreds of thousands in Somalia whose families depend on international aid because of the uncertainty caused by both years of conflict and drought. The 40 year old mother of seven fled her home, in Dinsoor, and walked to Baidoa with her children, because of the drought.

“This drought is much worse than the previous ones,” said Salado. “It’s the worst I’ve experienced in my life. There’s much less food and water. We are in desperate need. We have no shelter and we had to leave most of our belongings behind when we left. I fled carrying my stuff on my back and my children round my neck. I’ve nothing left.”

Salado lost her livestock and couldn’t farm her land because of lack of rain. “There is no life without food and water,” she said. Her children have been vaccinated and given medical help by the WHO, but they still have no shelter and have to sleep outside. “We are also still desperately in need of food.  We need aid agencies to support us during this drought, and to help us rebuild our livestock herds too.”

 

Nigeria

Afolabi is weighed at the Lagos Food Bank Initiative’s nutrition centre in Lagos. Afolabi is one of the children enrolled in the Lagos Food Bank Initiative’s nutrition programme. WFP continues to support people in Lagos with nutritional support.
Photo: Damilola Onafuwa / WFP Nigeria / Arete

Conflict in Nigeria’s North-East region has displaced more than 3 million people  (UNHCR) and left another 14.4 million without food security (FAO). This has been made worse by Covid-19 and drought. On top of this, the food shortages and resulting price rises caused by the Ukraine war have all had a devastating impact on people’s lives. The FAO predicts that 19.4 million Nigerians could face food insecurity by August 2022.

Newly arrived internally displaced women and children walk through a part of the Maiduguri IDP camp in Borno state, North-Eastern Nigeria, June 2021.
Photo: Siegfried Modola / WFP / Arete
Bags of millet at the WFP warehouse in Maiduguri, Nigeria, September 2021, before the conflict in Ukraine had escalated. Ukraine was one of the world’s main sources of millet before the Russian invasion.
Photo: Bernard Kalu / WFP / Arete

WFP combines food support with cash transfers to support displaced and vulnerable people in Nigeria. To the most vulnerable and remote groups, especially young children, WFP distributes Specialized Nutritious Food - which has been proven to significantly reduce malnutrition. Specialized Nutritious Food is highly dependent on grains such as wheat, now currently globally in short supply because of the blockade in Ukraine. WFP also works with the Nigerian Government and partner organisations to prepare longer-term interventions and build resilience.

Baba brings his Cash ID to a retailer point to redeem his monthly food items in Bama, Nigeria. WFP provides cash support to the most vulnerable people in Bama, Nigeria.
Photo: Emmanuella Boamah / WFP / Arete
Aisha, 25, feeds her son Sadiki, 1 with Plumpy’Nut, a peanut-based paste in a plastic wrapper for treatment of severe acute malnutrition, as she and other newly arrived internally displaced mothers with their children attend a WFP famine assessment and nutritional needs exercise in an IDP camp in Bama, Borno state in North-Eastern Nigeria, June 2021.
Photo: Siegfried Modola / WFP / Arete
A fish farmer receives money from a customer who comes to buy fish at a Christian Aid aquaculture centre in Malakalare, Maiduguri, Nigeria on 26 April 2022. Christian Aid is a long-standing partner organisation of WFP.
Photo: Emmanuella Boamah / WFP / Arete

Here is how you can support the WFP in Nigeria: https://www.wfp.org/emergencies/nigeria-emergency

 

Sri Lanka

 Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since it gained independence in 1948. Covid 19 has severely impacted the country’s economic outlook, and reduced agricultural production. In addition, scarcity of foreign exchange reserves and depreciation of the local currency have caused food shortages and a spike in the cost of living (WFP). The monthly cost of a nutritious diet has increased by 156%, while income has fallen in at least 62% of households (UNICEF). A sharp rise in oil and gas prices, also connected to the conflict in Ukraine, has contributed to the crisis.

A vegetable vendor sorts his produce at the Pettah Market in Colombo, June 2022. With the depreciation of local currency and falling earnings already making food unaffordable, the increase in oil prices (related to the conflict in Ukraine) along with the global shortage of imported grain have severely compounded the problem.
Photo: Tashiya de Mel / WFP / Arete

Malnutrition rates in Sri Lanka were already high before the economic crisis, the pandemic, and the invasion of Ukraine. Sri Lankan women and children suffered from far higher rates of malnutrition than most other middle-income countries, with 17 per cent of children under five too short because of stunting (WFP).

Trishaws line up in a fuel queue in Colombo, June 2022. Since this photo was taken all sales of fuel have been suspended in Sri Lanka due to severe shortage.
Photo: Tashiya de Mel / WFP / Arete
Damayanthi, mother of two, cooks on a wood-fired stove outside her home due to gas shortages, Colombo, June 2022.
Photo: Tashiya de Mel / WFP / Arete
People line up with their gas cylinders in a queue for several hours, Colombo, June 2022.
Photo: Tashiya de Mel / WFP / Arete

WFP supports Sri Lanka’s national health system in preventing and managing malnutrition, including improving access for families to fortified foods; many of these foods are highly dependent on WFP grain imported from Ukraine. WFP also works with the Sri Lankan Government on safety net programmes to protect families in emergencies, but the current crisis is rapidly getting worse by the day.

Volunteers hand out free meals to a community kitchen in Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 2022.
Photo: Tashiya de Mel / WFP / Arete

Here is how you can support the WFP in Sri Lanka: https://www.wfp.org/countries/sri-lanka

 

UKRAINE WAR – THE FALL OUT IS HURTING PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD

The war in Ukraine is not only causing grief and destruction to millions of Ukrainians. Its knock on effects – grain shortages and fuel inflation – are putting millions globally at risk from hunger and poverty.  It is vitally important that those people’s stories are told in a way that can grab the world’s attention.


Our award-winning journalists, photographers and content specialists are eager to help you make a difference. Contact us to find out how we can tailor our expertise to meet your needs.


Only One Earth: The Power of Imagery to Promote Change on Environmental Issues

In the universe are billions of galaxies,
In our galaxy are billions of planets,
But there is #OnlyOneEarth.
Let’s take care of it.

(un.org)

June 5th marks World Environment Day, and the theme this year is #OnlyOneEarth. It is a day to appreciate the unique and precious planet that we call home, as well as to raise awareness of the fragility of the environment on which we, and all other living organisms, depend.

With every year that passes, environmental action becomes more urgent, and as our understanding of climate change, habitat loss and pollution increases, it is the role of many charities and NGOs to communicate the growing threats and required action to the public.

However, as the issues become more complicated, the effects of climate change become felt in more unforeseen ways around the world, and the statistics stack up against us, people can feel powerless in response.

But, as is so often the case, when the scale and complexity of the challenges we face are overwhelming, photography steps up to communicate over and above language and statistics, engaging people and moving them to action.

Photography has a unique power to engage on a personal, human level - confronting the viewer with the truth that lies behind the image in a way that can make people understand in a split second.

So, to mark World Environment Day 2022, we asked a selection of the fantastic photographers we have worked with in recent years to share a photograph or two that means #OnlyOneEarth to them:

 

Vijay Pandey

@vijaypandeyphotography

Vijay is a documentary photographer based in New Delhi, India. Along with working with Arete, he has also worked with other major media organizations including VICE, Outlook India, and Tehelka Magazine.

An activist hugs a tree during the "Save The Tree Campaign" in New Delhi, taking a stand against thousands of trees being cut down in the National Capital to expand government housing facilities and create commercial infrastructure on June 26, 2018 in New Delhi.
Photo: Vijay Pandey

“Trees are the lungs of the earth. It is due to the existence of trees that we inhale fresh air. Earth’s green cover is depleting fast over the years due to rampant tree felling. We have built a concrete jungle by cutting down the trees. The drive for civilization and modernization is harming the environment to an irreversible extent. When man violates nature the planet suffers and we have to bear the harmful consequences. Delhi is among the most polluted cities in the world. According to reports, the city is suffering gravely from pollution and an increasing number of residents are struggling with breathing disorders. In the past two decades lakhs of trees were cut in the name of development projects which reduced the city’s forest cover. Temperature is on the rise because of continuous removal of the green walls of trees. This is our planet and we have to protect it. There is no point of development when people are going to die because of pollution. If deforestation continues the planet will not be inhabitable for future generations because of this imbalance.”

Vijay Pandey

Brian Ongoro

@brian_ongoro

Brian is a photojournalist based in Kenya and has recently worked with Arete on projects for Chance for Childhood and Tearfund Canada.

Community volunteers remove plastic and other waste from River Wigwa in Kisumu, western Kenya on September 18, 2021.
Photo: Brian Ongoro

 

Aaron Palabyab

@aaronpalabyab

Aaron is a filmmaker and landscape, time-lapse, and astrophotographer from Metro Manila, Philippines. He works as a director, cameraman, and editor around the Philippines and the world, specialising in travel and documentary.

70m wind turbines stretching in a row for 9 kilometres dominate the landscape at sunrise at the Bangui Wind Farm in Ilocos Norte.
Photo: Aaron Palabyab

“To me, the photograph speaks of the power of the Earth to provide for everyone if we consciously seek a new definition of progress, one that is more patient, and that seeks to preserve the natural cycles that sustain all life.”

Aaron Palabyab

 

Rudolph Michel de Girardier

@rudiwildd

Rudolph is a filmmaker, photographer and storyteller based in Cape Town, South Africa, specialising in wildlife, conservation, and social impact.

Children from the semi-nomadic Mbororo pastoralist tribe in Chad investigate us while their bull walks forward on my approach, as if protecting its tribe. Comprising less than 5% of the world's population, indigenous people protect some 80% of the world's biodiversity (Gleb Raygorodetsky, National Geographic).
Photos: Rudolph Michel de Girardier

“On a month-long documentary assignment for Random Good Films, deeply immersed in the vast plains of the Saharan Desert, we were privileged to observe the sustainable practices of this tribe, their connection to the environment and the respect they hold for it."

Rudolph Michel de Girardier

 

Khalid Ozavogu Abdul

@ozavoguabdul

Khalid is an independent travel documentary photographer and filmmaker based in Abuja, Nigeria. He has recently worked with Arete on behalf of UNESCO in Nigeria.

Khalid believes that photography and filmmaking can inform, educate, and shape narratives, and as such, for him it is about storytelling and truth-telling—to better help us see and understand situations.

Clouds hover over the rolling hills of Gembu, a remote region in Nigeria’s Mambilla Plateau, on July 19th 2021. The Plateau is Nigeria’s northern continuation of the Bamenda Highlands of Cameroon. The Mambilla Plateau has an average elevation of about 1,600 metres (5,249 ft) above sea level, making it the highest plateau in Nigeria. Some of its towns and villages like Gembu, are situated on hills that are at least 1,828 meters (5,997 ft) above sea level. The Mambilla Plateau is also home to the Gashaka Gumti National Park, the largest national park in Nigeria.
Photo: Khalid Ozavogu Abdul

More on the Mambilla Plateau region can be found in Khalid’s recent Gembu Vlogs Travel Series on YouTube: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLB5BVxO7DnpkVFnAKGUmRlaFDTrYlNPi

“This photo demonstrates to me the uniqueness of our planet—where energies and life, can be felt through the ever-present elements of nature.”

Ozavogu Abdul

 

Anthony Upton

@ant_upton

Anthony is an editorial photographer based in London and working with major newspapers as well as charities and NGOs. He has recently worked with Arete on behalf of the Disasters Emergencies Committee in Ukraine.

Fog covers Pewsey Vale from Martinsell Hill in Wiltshire.
Photo: Anthony Upton

Fog is made up of many very tiny water droplets or ice crystals. When the air close to the ground is cooled, water vapor condenses into tiny liquid water droplets, which are suspended in the air. This can occur because of added moisture or falling air temperatures. In simplest terms, the dew point (a measure of moisture) must be equal to the temperature for fog to form.

The lowest temperatures occur early in the morning, usually between 5 and 7 am. This means that the temperature will drop closest to the dew point temperature during this time. In addition, the relative humidity rises as the temperature drops, so there is more moisture availability for condensation to occur. With longer nights in the Fall and Winter, there is more time for this process to occur.

Not only does fog form in the morning, it also usually clears quickly in the morning too. Once the sun comes up, it heats the ground and raises the temperature. This brings the temperature away from the dewpoint and causes the fog to mix out.

Photo: Anthony Upton

“To paraphrase Marcel Proust in ‘Remembrance of Things Past’, the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes… Although I've travelled to many parts of the world, I'm reminded that it's important, really important just to look at my surroundings wherever I am. Be it here in England, close to my home, or in far flung distant lands. There is beauty to be protected if we only open our eyes to it and not see the environment as something to be exploited for profit.”

Anthony Upton

 

Kate Holt

@kateholtphoto

Kate is an award-winning photojournalist, she is a Guardian contributor and teacher, as well as being the founder and Director of Arete.

Juvenal Munganka, who has been a park ranger for 17 years, watches "Bonne Annee", an Eastern Lowland Gorilla, eat vegetation in the Kahuzi Biega National Park, Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, on Tuesday, June 4, 2019.
When the Kahuzi Biega Park was first established 50 years ago, their habitat was over 8000 square miles of the DRCongo, an area that has halved along with the number of gorillas. Rangers face daily threats and four have died in the last year from attacks by poachers and people exploiting the park. Juvenal says, "when I first started it was a different time. We worked without guns. Then after the militias came into the park we were allowed to be armed. "
Photo: Kate Holt

“These photographs demonstrate to me how fragile much of our planet is… The rangers who work with the endangered Gorillas in the DR Congo wear masks to prevent them from catching human diseases that they have no immunity too. Often the rangers are killed while protecting the gorillas as seen in the second image [below]. Protecting some of the most important ecosystems in the world is dangerous and complex. We must accept that without our protection though they wouldn’t exist. We mustn’t give up protecting them for the good of the planet and for future generations.”

Kate Holt

A park ranger walks past the grave of another park ranger who lost his life in 2017 to a poacher in Kahuzi Biega National Park, Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, on Tuesday, June 4, 2019.
Photo: Kate Holt

 

Mussa Uwitonze

@mussa.photography

Mussa Uwitonze is a photographer and visual storyteller based in Kigali, Rwanda. Capturing images of people and places, his photographs tell a story of diversity and real life.

A man picks up a water bottle thrown by tourists on Prison Island, Tanzania. The Government of Tanzania banned plastic from 1st June 2019. All plastic carrier bags are prohibited from being imported, exported, manufactured, sold, stored, supplied and used in Tanzania.
Photo: Mussa Uwitonze

“To me this picture represents environmental beauty that should be preserved. For instance in Zanzibar a huge majority of people eat sea food… I imagine how their lives would be if it all died out? I think we should take care of our environment the same way we take care of ourselves.”

Mussa Uwitonze

 

Karel Prinsloo

@karelprinsloo

Karel Prinsloo is an award-winning photographer who has been working mainly in Africa for almost thirty years. He works for various NGOs and news organisations throughout Africa, like UNICEF, WFP, GAVI, IFAW as well as for major international news media from his base in Paris, France.

Paulina Lino, a beneficiary of Ethical Tea Partnership’s landscape initiative, works in the field at her farm in Kundi village, Malawi on 25th August 2021. Ethical Tea Partnership continues to support several training and outreach programmes in Malawi, in order to create a thriving tea industry that is socially just and environmentally sustainable.
Photo: Karel Prinsloo / Ethical Tea Partnership / Arete

 

Nafkot Gebeyehu

@fuabilich

Nafkot is a portrait and documentary photographer based in Ethiopia. With a passion for visual storytelling, Nafkot finds inspiration from everyday people and shared experiences. She has recently worked with Arete on behalf of Tearfud Canada in Ethopia.

Mesineh Merkineh prays with market-goers in Abala Farecho Village, Sodo Wolaita in Ethiopia on 29th July 2021. For months, he’s been coming to the local market every Thursday in the late afternoon to pray for the nation. "Oh lord, forgive us!" He cries. He makes the people kneel down. "We need to pray for forgiveness! God must heal our land."
Tearfund Canada continues to support several training and outreach programmes, with the help of Terepeza Development Association in Ethiopia to assist vulnerable, impoverished communities.
Photo: Nafkot Gebeyehu / Tearfund Canada / Arete

 

Isak Amin

@isak_amin

Isak is a Somali photographer who specialises in landscapes, nature, and travel photography. Isak has been working with Arete for many years for a range of UN agencies across East Africa.

Widespread drought has devastated Tuli Village for 2 years. Now there is no rain, people are going to the big cities to get water and food and livestock is severely diminished.
Photo: Isak Amin / FAO Somalia / Arete
Abdirahman (pictured above) was hit by a severe drought in Garbahaadley, Somalia and lost a large number of livestock.
Photo: Isak Amin / FAO Somalia / Arete

 

Bernard Kalu

@kabenny_

Bernard Kalu is a visual artist based in Lagos, Nigeria. With a passion for humans and the stories they tell simply by existing, his work aims to explore life and humanity.

Featured in this photo is a woman working at the Olusosun Landfill, in Lagos. This photo demonstrates the scale of single-use plastic as one of the world's major pollution causes. Recycling is touted as a solution, yet less than 30% of plastic waste is recycled.
Photo: Bernard Kalu

“The picture shows our effort in fixing our declining climate. However, in line with this year's theme #OnlyOneEarth - I'd hope measures towards tackling climate change are more widespread and robust going forward; because even though recycling is a decent way to handle plastic waste, a more potent action for example, would be passing policies against the production and usage of single use plastic and opting for more sustainable alternatives.”

Bernard Kalu


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The Power of Social Impact Reporting

Arete, the expert storytelling and training agency for NGOs, UN bodies and foundations, specialise in high-quality content gathering. 

Storytelling is one of the most effective communication tools. Impact stories put a name or a face to an organisation, realising its mission and providing insight into the lives or communities they are helping. Successful social impact storytelling can inspire people to act and bring about positive change. 

Reporting back is a key part of every charity and NGO’s relationship with the public, their stakeholders, partners, and supporters. Arete’s work with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) is an example of how appeal reporting works in practice. The DEC has played a leading role in responding to the war in Ukraine – with its appeal now totalling over £300 million. 

With the crisis in Ukraine, media attention is focused on the dramatic events of the unfolding conflict, its escalation, political commentary, and the response of aid workers. Therefore, it is vitally important that charities report success stories through first-hand accounts, photographs, and videos, like the content collated for the DEC below:

It is easy to forget that before the invasion of Ukraine came into the spotlight, aid for the crisis in Afghanistan was the focus of attention, and the DEC had raised over £30 million (as of February) in its Afghanistan appeal. It is unfortunate that the DEC is in such demand. However, their success rides on their reputation for swift humanitarian response, demonstrated through quality impact reporting. 

Reporting back is vital because, with an overwhelming number of negative reports coming from crisis areas and no positive impact stories to counteract them, confidence can dwindle, as supporters lose faith that they can make a difference. This is particularly relevant in a long-term humanitarian situation like Afghanistan, where supporters can suffer fatigue due to what appears to be a lack of progress. It is key to portray a balanced view; showing that as well as success stories, there is also a lot more work to be done.

Labourers carry wheat flour to trucks at a WFP warehouse that manages logistics for Afghanistan response, December 2021. Persistent malnutrition, high vulnerability to natural disasters, the effects of climate change and declining smallholder production are some of the challenges experienced by local communities.
Saiyna Bashir / WFP /Arete

The challenge when reporting back is to present this balanced view with transparency and authenticity while keeping content as engaging as possible for your intended audience. If your content comes across as sensationalised, or viewers and readers detect any air of exaggeration they will begin to question reports. Equally, if they detect too much authorship in the content – e.g. your video is too stylised, or written content is opinionated, supporters are likely to distrust or doubt what they are being told. 

It takes experience to judge the right tone of reporting for your audience, and high-level technical skills from quality photographers, journalists, and videographers to convey this sense of authenticity and integrity with robust and substantive information that is as engaging as possible. While shoddy creative materials will stand out, creating emotional distance and disengagement, the best technical input will mean that any sense of overt authorship fades into the background — allowing stories and the individuals in them to take centre stage.

Halima receives a food package from Christian Aid in Herat, Afghanistan. The Disasters Emergency Committee are working in partnership with the NGO Christian Aid to deliver lifesaving aid to people in need.
Osman Khayyam / Disasters Emergency Committee / Arete

"Photography is one of the most powerful means of communication. Photographs provide whole, intuitive, immediate understanding. Through an image the wider perspective and the individual details can be taken in all at once. A picture can capture the core message, connect us to the story and enable us to empathise with the subject in an instant, within the context of the bigger picture.”

Julia Fairrie, Communications Specialist

 

A refugee from Burundi holds up some dried corn that makes up part of her food aid at a WFP distribution site in Nakivale Refugee Camp, Isingoro District, Uganda, Nov 12, 2019  
Kate Holt / Opportunity International UK / Arete

 

Using Statistics 

Collecting key data and statistics is going to be important for your organisation’s operations as well as for reporting. Understanding what worked and what didn’t is vital in order to build a framework that can be used in future emergencies, and having clear objectives and parameters upon which to judge the extent of your success is key to this. If you have collected a large amount of data, that’s great, but when it comes to reporting back it is all about understanding your audience when deciding how much to include and how to present it. 

Corporate fundraisers may have requested a long-form, matter of fact report, with absolutely everything documented – and it’s very important to honour relationships by delivering to their expectations. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do everything in your power to present statistics in the most engaging form possible – they will also thank you for as many visual aids and representations as possible, rather than 100 pages of dense text. Most of the time you will want to use statistics sparingly, weaving them in with other forms of content to make information digestible and to have a lasting impact on viewers/readers. 

 

Putting People At The Heart Of The Story 

At Arete, we aim to give people a voice to tell their own stories. Real stories connect with our emotions and inspire us.  The video below, produced by Arete for the World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, is a great example of how we do this, blending in some statistics on the wider impact of projects.

The power of Istaahil’s story outweighs anything that can be written by a third party, and the format and atmosphere of the video allow it to have an emotional effect on the viewer. Representatives of the WFP provide context on how the project was undertaken, but the authenticity of Istaahil’s smile comes through over and above anything else – ultimately beneficiaries are the only people who can provide a clear and unequivocal endorsement of positive impact, as Istaahil does when she says:

 “With their support, we improved our farming, and thanks to Allah we are harvesting crops.” 

While statistics illustrate the scale of positive impacts, only individuals can communicate what those changes mean to them as people. 

“There's nothing like putting something in the first person, and that person telling us about what their experience has been. Because it cannot be questioned. And that’s why when you are running a fundraising campaign, that ability to go into the field, to find the people that the fundraising has impacted, you need to find that voice.”

- Kate Holt, Photojournalist & Founder of Arete

 

35-year-old Benesh, in Herat, Afghanistan. The Disasters Emergency Committee are working in partnership with the NGO Christian Aid to deliver lifesaving aid to people in need.
Osman Khayyam / Disasters Emergency Committee / Arete

 'I have suffered, and had a hard life. This food assistance helps to keep my family alive'

- Benesh, pictured above

 

There may also be unexpected positive impacts that come through in interviews and testimonials that could be overlooked by statistical reporting and second-hand accounts, such as how projects are affecting wider generations or neighbouring communities. 

 

Zooming In and Zooming Out

The WFP/FAO video above is also a good example of the effectiveness of starting with the human interest story, then zooming out to the wider context of the project, before zooming back into the human interest story to conclude. This formula is highly effective in most cases but is especially helpful to employ when the statistics actually show that the wider situation is worsening, rather than improving.

Zainabu, a 34-year-old women's refugee leader who has recently arrived from Burundi, poses for a photo with one of her three children, in Nakivale Refugee Camp Isingoro District, Uganda, in 2019.
Kate Holt / Opportunity International UK / Arete

If there is more work to be done and the statistics make for difficult reading, one way to combat readers’ tendencies to feel hopeless is to remind them that making a difference in an individual’s life is still significant. Individual success stories provoke positive feelings of achievement, which will almost always make viewers/readers seek that feeling again. Zooming out, in turn, places the individual story in its wider context, which can move people to further action or highlight new areas for future involvement.

“I think that’s really at the heart of what reporting back is about. Closing that loop. And that’s what we aim to do at Arete, we help clients close that loop” 

- Kate Holt, Photojournalist & Founder of Arete

 


Our award-winning journalists, photographers and content providers are eager to help you make a difference.

Contact us to find out how we can tailor our expertise to meet your needs.

 


Forgotten Crises: The Power of Storytelling to Restart the Conversation

The Yemeni children in the photograph above have some idea of how the children in Ukraine are feeling – except that they have never known peace. The war in Yemen has been going on since 2014 – all these children’s families have been displaced by the conflict. Called ‘the forgotten war’, Yemen’s situation today is worse than ever. As of 14 March 2022, around 17.4 million people are in need of food assistance, according to UNICEF. In response to this, the UN has requested US$4.2 billion in aid from member states, but on 16 March world leaders pledged just US$1.3 billion – leaving the people of Yemen in desperate need.  But Yemen, like Syria, Afghanistan, Congo and so many other human tragedies, is not currently the focus of the world’s attention.

 

New crises give you opportunities to revisit old crises or bring them back to the fore” Jonathan Clayton, Arete journalist and veteran foreign correspondent.

 

Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine is dominating the news. Western nations are transfixed both by the conflict’s apocalyptic potential for nuclear war, and the millions of refugees streaming from Ukraine into the rest of Europe. In a world with an increasingly short attention span, Ukraine has the advantage of being the latest war in town and has the power to galvanise politicians to action and to electrify the mainstream media and their public. As a result, there have been overwhelming gestures of international support and unity for Ukraine; borders have been opened for Ukraine’s desperate, bewildered refugees, and millions of dollars of much-needed aid relief are pouring into Ukraine – given both by nations and individuals.

But that doesn’t mean that other people in other regions, other crises, are not still suffering.  Unfortunately for the Yemeni children in the photograph, as Ukraine’s plight is soaking up the headlines, it also grabs the sympathy and the cash so vital for aid.

 

“You need to think outside the box. It may be the best way is to juxtapose or make parallels between the forgotten crisis with the ‘more current’ crisis to point towards the people in the world that have been forgotten.” Jonathan Clayton

 

This is when Arete’s work becomes all the more important. We have a reputation for going to places that others avoid. Our award-winning photographers, journalists and videographers are specialists at finding the stories that need to be told, to bring the people in these forgotten disasters back to the world’s attention. We are currently working with War Child in Yemen. We are working with the World Food Programme in Nigeria - where WFP continues its vital famine prevention work - and with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as they provide emergency support to communities affected by drought in Somalia.

 

Hussein, 13, poses for a photo with his goats on a footbridge in Somalia. FAO is working with local NGOs in Somalia to help support communities affected by desert locust invasion and drought.
Abdulkadir Zubeyr / FAO / Arete

 

Jonathan Clayton is an Arete journalist and editor, with more than 40 years of experience working as a foreign correspondent, writer and editor for both Reuters and The Times.

 

Jonathan Clayton talking with refugees at a UNHCR camp.

 

How do you make a situation relevant again to the wider world in order to build support and help bring about positive change?

People always get tired of crises when they can’t see any hope … when it has been going on for a long period of time, it is very hard to rally public support… Rwanda is now lauded as it has seen such huge progress, however, Congo has barely moved on, and…there is a limit to what people can stay engaged with.

“If you look at the crises that are forgotten, like the Western Sahara, or Rohingyas – from a news point of view, no one is interested. Even looking at Afghanistan with the country in dire straits, it’s a really hard sell for the mainstream media…

“You need to be more innovative in the way that you bring that crisis home to people. People were exhausted with stories of Somalia and Congo long before Ukraine started….”

“But the differences in the stories highlight the similarities, two different human beings in two different geographical locations, experiencing the same thing – you can use more recent or relevant crises to draw parallels between ongoing or forgotten crises in this way.”

 

Bitale, 47, is a refugee from Congo, now living in Uganda. She understands only too well the terror, grief and bewilderment afflicting the Ukrainians. 

Bitalie, 47, fled Congo for Uganda in 2017. In the chaos she lost her family. Five years later, she still does not know where her husband and children are, or whether they are alive or dead.
Kate Holt / Opportunity International / Arete

In 2017, Bitale fled her home in Uvira, Congo’s South Kivu province, when her village was attacked by the terrifying Mai Mai militia. In the chaos, she lost all her family, including her four children. She dreams of one day seeing her children again. She now lives in Uganda.

“They killed all of my neighbours, so I was very scared. I lived with my family. There were nine of us - myself, my husband, my four children, my brother, his wife, and my brother’s child. 

“We decided to run ... we ran by foot through the forest …  we ran and ran … we reached Kamanura, and from there we got a bus that took us to Bukavu.” But in the confusion, the family were separated and she lost track of her children. After a long journey, by boat and on foot, Bitale reached Uganda.  

Bitalie holds a piece of paper with the names and ages of her children written on it.
Kate Holt / Opportunity International / Arete

A year later, Bitalie returned to Congo in the hope of finding her husband and children, but instead she found only ruins; the village was raided nightly by the Mai Mai. After six months, she gave up and went back to Uganda. A tailor for 20 years in Congo, Bitale can survive financially in Uganda because – on her brief return to Congo in 2018 - someone in the Church gave her a sewing machine, which she carried back to Uganda on the bus.

 With the support of the NGO Opportunity International, Bitalie now runs her tailoring business from Nakivale. She makes between £100 and £2 a week, depending on business. “If I can pay my rent, I buy things like tomatoes to mix with the food we are given. But all I want is to see my children again.” 

 

Jonathan Clayton:

“You have to work harder to have these stories heard. The challenge is that you get a disconnect between what’s happening in the news, so at the moment we all know about Ukrainian refugees, and before that Afghanistan and so on.”

 

So, you could use what is happening in Ukraine to revisit other crises?

“Yes, for instance… ‘this happened in Ukraine last week, but so and so lost their home 20 years ago and is still hoping to go back from the Democratic Republic of Congo’.

“Or ‘what is it like when your neighbours turn on you’ (like Russia and Ukraine) – along with applicable stories where tribalism is a key driver of violence...

It’s not necessarily new crises against old crises. …But there are some situations, such as those in Azerbaijan or Georgia, that would now be easier to cover with the similarities to Ukraine making them more attractive again.”

 

13-year-old twins of Azerbaijani heritage who had lived in Ukraine for the last 15 years, wait at Przemsyl train station in Poland. They are hoping to travel onwards to Germany. According to the UN more than 500,000 refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion with many of them being forced to queue for over twenty-four hours to cross the borders into Poland, Moldova and Romania.
Anthony Upton / DEC / Arete

 

How does the power of storytelling with images and the written story have an impact?

“The written word, as long as it is well illustrated, has an advantage over video. You will, by definition, be appealing to a small audience – it is not going to be prime time news. The narrative we always get is that video is so much more hard hitting. I think that is true with something like the current crisis in Ukraine. But when time elapses, good print stories come into their own. They allow you to tell a good story that is not necessarily topical. At best they are human interest stories, or success stories – because you are not going for the news pages, you are attempting to appeal to people.”

Jonathan’s wisdom and expertise is just one example of Arete’s bank of knowledge.  At Arete, we pride ourselves on connecting NGOs, charities and foundations with the most talented journalists, photographers and videographers. At Arete, we tell individual stories. Most importantly, as much as possible, we give individuals the means to tell their own stories.

 Arete’s team has the experience and understanding to tell stories in the most effective ways - and get them seen by the right people - so the stories have the greatest possible impact. You may think that, as Ukraine dominates the headlines, your campaign, your country, is likely to get less attention, but at Arete we know how to use the situation as an opportunity. We help to find the humanity in a crisis that brings the tragedies and resilience of these people back to the world’s attention. And we know how to make the world focus.

A seven-year-old boy wears a face mask whilst holding a hygiene kit during a distribution in Goma, D. R. Congo. War Child was distributing hygiene kits and informing people about how to protect themselves from COVID-19, whilst trying to minimise the spread of the virus.
Moses Sawasawa / War Child UK / Arete

Our award-winning journalists, photographers and content specialists are eager to help you make a difference. Contact us to find out how we can tailor our expertise to meet your needs.