Dóchas Awards Photography Competition

Mary Robinson and Dóchas CEO Suzanne Keatinge looking at the Dóchas Awards 2018 Photography Exhibition

Dóchas CEO, Suzanne Keatinge, and Mary Robinson, recipient of the Dóchas Lifetime Achievement Award 2018, at the Dóchas Awards Photography Exhibition (Mark Stedman)

Celebrating Women’s Empowerment & Human Rights

At the Dóchas Awards 2018, we were delighted to showcase the work of our members in a photography exhibition, celebrating women’s empowerment and human rights.

The year 2018 marked many significant global anniversaries. Two in particular resonated strongly with the work of Dóchas member organisations, the 100th Anniversary of Irish women being granted the right to vote (6 February 1918) and the 70th Anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 December 1948). To mark these events, Dóchas invited individuals working or volunteering for Dóchas member organisations to submit photos that highlighted the work of their organisation in relation to women’s empowerment or protecting and defending human rights.

The fourteen photos selected to feature in the exhibition have also been included in a Dóchas Calendar for 2019.

Self Help Africa Photo Entry

Self Help Africa

Mother-of-two Topista (21), pictured at her home in Otukaliri village in Uganda's far north, close to the border with neighbouring Congo. Topista is amongst 3,000 young people - half of whom are women - being supported by Self Help Africa to create sustainable small businesses that will help them make a living for themselves and their families in this remote part of Uganda, where job opportunities are scarce. As part of the programme, Topista is a member of a 30-strong youth group in her village who are producing and selling onions. Topista says that the profits made from onions have allowed her to buy two goats - which recently gave her two kids - and she has accumulated €60 in a savings scheme also supported by the Self Help Africa project. Credit: George Jacob (August 2018).

Misean Cara Photo Entry

Misean Cara

Basamat Alnoor Jakolo Aldabi (L) teaches school in the Kaya Refugee Camp in Maban County, Upper Nile State, South Sudan. After war broke out in 2011 in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions of Sudan, Basamat Alnoor and her family were forced to flee their home town of Mak in the Blue Nile to seek refuge in the refugee camps being established in Maban County, South Sudan. Basamat Alnoor was eager to continue her education, despite the curriculum being taught in a different language. Her hard work paid off and she was soon recruited to become a teacher, dividing her time between her studies and teacher training classes. Despite a very challenging environment and outbreaks of violence, she graduated the teaching course, one of only two women. She now teaches in a primary school in the Kaya Refugee Camp in Maban. Credit: Paul Jeffrey (May 2018).

Sightsavers Photo Entry


Louisa Marcoma (60) outside her home in Namina Community, Mecuburi District, Nampula, Mozambique, after a successful cataract surgery supported by Sightsavers. Louisa lives alone and has grownup children who live a significant distance away. When we first met Louisa she told us that she wished to have her sight restored so that she would be able to work her small farm again and retain her independence. Credit: Alison Bough (September 2018).

Aidlink Photo Entry


Kasay, a member of the Parents Association at Maparasha Primary School in Kajiado, Kenya, a primary school targeted under Aidlink’s Kenya Equity in Education Project (KEEP), explains why he is fighting for girls' right to education in his community. The project aimed to ensure girls from the Masai community enrolled in school, performed well and transitioned to secondary education. By keeping girls in school, the project also aimed to combat FGM and early marriage in the Masai community. Kasay was one of the local parents trained by Aidlink and our local partner the Girl Child Network on rights of women and girls, the importance of education, the harmful effects of FGM and the challenges faced by girls in the community. Credit: Thomas O’Connor (November 2015).

ILCUF Photo Entry

Irish League of Credit Unions International Development Foundation

Credit Union members, staff and volunteers from the credit union movement in Sierra Leone march through the centre of Freetown to celebrate International Credit Union Day. The purpose of the parade was to raise awareness of the existence of credit unions as a means for people to transform their lives for the better. 63% of credit union members in Sierra Leone are women. For these women, the credit union offers them a safe space to save and a place to turn to for loans. Some of these credit union members become leaders within their credit unions, enabling them to shape the institutions within their communities. 45% of credit union boards and committee members are female. With support from Irish Aid, the ILCU Foundation are striving to support the credit union movement in Sierra Leone to expand financial services to many communities across the country, especially those in rural areas. Credit: Anna Heisterkamp (October 2017).

Tearfund Photo Entry

Tearfund Ireland

Meseret joined a local Self Help Group shortly after her first child was born and she was at a place of desperation, unable to feed herself adequately enough to supply breast milk for her hungry child. Her savings and confidence grew and with a small loan she started a hairdressing business - she gradually worked her way out of poverty and today is one of the leaders of the Self Help Group network and is studying for a degree in human resource management. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Credit: Gavin Leane (October 2016).

Oxfam Photo Entry

Oxfam Ireland

Grace* is one of 30 girls in Balaka District, southern Malawi, who received bikes to help them get to school and remain in education. Before receiving her bike from Oxfam, it took Grace two hours to walk the 15km journey to school. Tiredness used to affect her concentration and she was often harassed by groups of boys as she walked to school. Now Grace can speed past the boys who used to bother her, spend less time travelling and more time learning. *Name changed to protect identity. Credit: Corinna Kern (October 2017).

Brighter Communities Worldwide

Brighter Communities Worldwide

Two students of Kipsirichet Primary School, Sharon Chebet (L) and Stella Chepkemoi, taking part in the Brighter Communities Worldwide Menstrual Hygiene Day celebration in Londiani, Kenya. They are playing a balloon game, which was part of a wide range of activities aimed at breaking the taboo surrounding menstruation. The theme for the day was #NothingWillStopMe and it included workshops, games and sports aimed at increasing awareness around menstrual health as well as breaking taboos and myths. Girls and Boys from across 64 schools joined together on the day for these activities. Credit: Maria Kidney (May 2018). 

Vita Photo Entry


Ms Azieb Berhane and her children - her eldest daughter Miriam, her son Abrham and her youngest daughter Saliem - in the Adiada Region, Eritrea. Azieb and her children are beside her improved fuel-efficient cook stove. Azieb received her stove as part of Vita's climate smart cook stoves programme, which it delivers with the support of Irish Aid and the Vita Green Impact Fund. These improved cook stoves use considerably less fuel, reducing carbon emissions and the amount of time women and children spend collecting firewood. The improved cook stoves pictured with Azieb also eliminate the health problems associated with in-door smoke inhalation such as respiratory diseases, cataracts and other eye problems. Credit: Ms Wenghelawit Tefera-Asmara (March 2018).

Trócaire Photo Entry


Daw Kyi Kyi Swe (53) from Ba Wa Pin village, Myanmar. In a country where traditional gender norms mean women rarely lead their communities, she is standing up and speaking out on behalf of her community. She is documenting the impact of a nearby mining company which is polluting their water sources. Their houses are also being damaged by the usage of dynamite very close to the village. Dawei, Tanintharyi region, Myanmar. Credit: Garry Walsh (June 2018).

Plan International Ireland Photo Entry

Plan International Ireland

Juliet (21) is single mother living in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, who left education as she endured constant verbal and physical harassment from boys on her way to and from school. Juliet dreams her daughter will have a better future, so she is part of the Plan International Safer Cities for Girls programme, which aims to build safe, accountable and inclusive cities with and for adolescent girls. Credit: Quinn Neely (August 2018).

ActionAid Photo Entry

ActionAid Ireland

Vivienne* (pictured) and her daughter Betty* contacted ActionAid after Betty was sexually assaulted. They temporarily moved into ActionAid’s Safe Space for women in Gulu, Uganda, where they received support to recover. They now have the confidence to rebuild their lives and help stop violence against women and girls. *Name changed to protect identity. Credit: Karin Schermbrucker/ActionAid (September 2018). 

GOAL Photo Entry


Fatima Tibo is a female farmer and mother of ten children from the village of Qunicha in the Boricha district of Ethiopia. Fatuma delights in the 'fruits of her labour', showcasing foods grown from her new and improved micro-garden after receiving support from GOAL Ethiopia. Fatima now grows a variety of vegetables such as chili, haricot beans, carrots, and potatoes to sell at her local market, where she receives a stable income, ensuring she can grow her business and provide her family with nutritious food. Credit: Anteneh Tadele (September 2017).

Christian Aid Photo Entry

Christian Aid

Members of Addis women’s group in Ethiopia. (L to R): Aster Argo (29), Aasnakech Almi (27), Makesho Mata (49), Adaneh Muda (28), Tigist Lifo (28). For Harvest 2018, Christian Aid Ireland highlighted the plight of women in Ethiopia standing together for gender justice. In the past, farming, cooking, carrying firewood was a real struggle - no matter how hard Aster and her sisters worked, they were unable to save enough money to support themselves and their family. But refusing to be beaten by poverty, they came together and set up their own shop, powered by the sun. With training from Christian Aid’s partner, these women turned this shop into a thriving business that benefits themselves, the community and the environment. Credit: Matt Gonalez (2018).


Dóchas is grateful for the support of our Partners for the Dóchas Awards 2018:

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