Eventually, it’s the money that will make you or brake you. In a failing economy of utter devaluation of photography, especially documentary photography, the ones swimming up to the surface and making it big are the ones with strong external financial support from the start, e.g. the Slovenia’s front-runner: well-off parents. :)
The following two stories are what I sent to WPP. They say it’s wise to send something in even if you don’t stand a chance. Your name gets seen. All right.
The first story is hot and the second one is cold. :) The first was actually an award, paid in half; the other half was my debt. :) That’s how you do it, if you’re not a son by profession. :) The second one was self initiated and produced on scraps of money I am left with.
A man tends to his cattle next to the lake Lak de Guiers, which provides water for a big agribusiness company Senhuile/Senethanol, January 8, 2014. The company gained a lease for 20000 ha of land near the lake, where pastoral communities have been living for several centuries. The company is using the land for growing crops which require massive amount of water for irrigation, thus placing additional pressure on already low level of water security in the semi-arid zone. In addition to irrigation needs, the problem of water security is also exacerbated with inefficient irrigation due to inadequate systems used by the company, which are causing large quantities of water being evaporated daily.
A donkey enclosure is seen in a remote village of Ndiourki in the Ndiael region of Senegal, where a big-scale agribusiness company Senhuile/Senethanol is limiting local communities’ access to grazing land, January 8, 2014. In a search for new grazing land animals are increasingly moving outside of their traditional grazing spaces towards the land of farmer communities which are cultivating the area around the reserve. This is increasing the risk of conflict over the land among communities in the region. In a recent case, donkeys from Puelh communities destroyed crops in the fields of neighboring farmer communities. They were caught by the owner of the fields, who demanded a payment of 4000 Senegalese Francs /6 Eur/ per donkey in order to return donkeys to their owners and to repair the damage.
A man visits a graveyard on the outskirts of a remote village of Ndiourki in Senegal, on January 8, 2014. The graveyard remains one of disputed issues between the villagers of Ndiourki and Senhuile/Senethanol company that aims to clear the land for their plantations by cutting threes around the village, including – according to the villagers – trees marking their sacred land. All attempts of the company to cut down the tree in the graveyard so far were stopped by the villagers who physically protected the graveyard from its destruction. Buried here are also three children who died after falling into an irrigation channel used by the Senhuile/Senethanol company.
Water sprinkles water the plantations of Senhuile/Senethanol company, additionally burdening water security in an already drought prone semi-arid region of Ndiael, Senegal. The company first started operating in Senegal with a plan to produce crops such as sweet potatoes for biofuel production. After the unsuccessful attempt of the company to set biofuels business in the Fanaye region of Northern Senegal, where it was faced with strong resistance of local population, leading to the death of two local villagers, the company moved their operation to the current location in the Ndiael region. Doing so, they have only transfered the problem from one region to another. According to recen information the company has reoriented from biofuel production to growing maize and sunflowers for oil, but what exactly is grown on the plantations remains unknown.
A schoolboy does his homework in a school of a remote village of Ndiourki, Senegal, on January 8, 2014. With running water and solid equipment the school in Ndiourki is one of better equipped schools in the region. It has also been providing schooling for several kids from neighboring villages until the Senhuile/Senethanol plantations blocked their direct access to the school. Now children that can’t easily access the school are being educated in temporary, less equipped schools in their local villages.
A new school built by the villagers due to lack of access to the former school in Ndiourki is seen in the Comoro Village on January 8, 2014. The villagers built the school in order to secure the basic education for their children after the Senhuile/Senethanol plantation had blocked direct access to a better equipped school with running water in the village of Ndiourki.
Villagers of Colobane village in region Kaolac meet non-governmental organizations to discuss their options after the African National Oil Corporation (ANOC) has acquired their land in a non-transparent and allegedly illegal process. Villagers have been unsuccessfully seeking support for the injustice that happened to them through local and national channels until that day, and are getting increasingly impatient in demanding their justice and their land back. »The land of the community is our land; if you start the fight we will come and join you« were just some of the voices heard at the village meeting. In Senegal, traditional land, including majority of the land in the region of Kaolac, is not owned by the individual or a family, but is a property of local community. Therefore, anybody who wants to legally sell or buy the land needs the approval of the local Council. At this moment, there is no evidence that ANOC gained approval from the Council for their land deals, which means that the legality of their ownership over the land is seriously questioned. Furthermore, the land deals have been done in a very non-transparent manner with villagers signing blank or uncompleted papers as their agreement for selling the land. None of the villagers received a copy of the document they signed.
A villager shows the land near the village of Colobane, Senegal, that has been, presumed illegally, acquired by the Italian company African National Oil Corporation (ANOC) to grow Jatropha plants for biofuels, January 10, 2014. In Senegal, traditional land, including majority of the land in the region of Kaolac, is not owned by the individual or a family, but is a property of local community. Therefore, anybody who wants to legally sell or buy the land needs the approval of the local Council. At this moment, there is no evidence that ANOC gained approval from the Council for their land deals, which means that the legality of their ownership over the land is seriously questioned. Furthermore, the land deals have been done in a very non-transparent manner with villagers signing blank or uncompleted papers as their agreement for selling the land. None of the villagers received a copy of the document they signed.
Banda Samba, ex-advisor of the local Council of the region of Kaolac, shows a copy of the document, noting and describing the land sold to the African National Oil Corporation, to members of NGOs in the town of Fass, Senegal. Banda was one of the first people raising concerns over illegal land deals and land grabbing in the region. He believes that this was also the reason he was put in prison for more than one month, allegedly on the grounds of “assaulting the Council”, but without charges or proper trial. While he was in prison, the local Council has been dissolved and interim special delegation responsible directly to the President has been put in place to govern the region. During that period, the original document describing all the land that has been sold has disappeared from the Council’s archives.
Jatropha plantation used for the production of biofuels by the African National Oil Corporation (ANOC) is seen near the village of Colobane, Senegal on January 10, 2014. ANOC started to operate with the explicit aim to grow jatropha plants used for production of biofuels, and has later expaned their production to peanuts as well. The company is just one of several foreign companies which have been stimulated by unsustainable biofuels policies (particularly European Union lead) to grow crops for biofuels in Africa. These policies are supporting the use of agricultural land for production of crops to fuel the cars, instead of crops to feed the people.
And a portrait from a different category…
Mamadou Mambone stands on the land he has sold to the African National Oil Corporation near the village of Colobane after a woman from the region working for the company, persuaded him that the deal presents a positive development for his family and the village as a whole. Together with his brother, he sold more than 15 ha of land. Similar to others, they signed a blank paper, with which they allegedly sold the land. »A woman came and told me she is from the region, and that she has seen something good and wishes to bring this to our village; she promised that they will pay 20000 francs for 1 ha of land, but beside that the most important is employment they promised to provide us with« were the words of his brother, describing the way they were persuaded to sell their land to the company. Both, Mamadoue and his brother, have large families and regular income gained from employment would present much welcomed contribution to their families.
The cold one. It’s from the 2014 ice storm in Slovenia. No captions needed. In the words of late Michael Jackson: “This is it.”