Participant Blogs

PhotoVoice Participants

13 May 2013, Day 1

Hello, we’re Joelle (Lebanon) and Daniela (Costa Rica), today was the first day of the WAGGGS and PhotoVoice workshop about saving children’s and mother’s life using photography as a tool for social change.

We started the day with some ice breakers and some activities that allowed us to get to know each other a little bit! We are 18 participants from 16 different countries, and we are all excited about the next 4 days and what we’re going to learn and share with each other.

During the day, we had sessions about maternal and children’s health, a presentation about “Save the Children” NGO, an introduction about photovoice’s work and advocacy definition.

At the end of the day, Pax Lodge had prepared for us a beautiful international evening where each one presented their own country, their traditional food and we all danced to the rhythm of salsa (Latin America), zorba (Greece), madiba jive (South Africa), afindrafindrao (Madagascar), dabké (Lebanon) and Jenka (Estonia). The night was a success and we all enjoyed our time.

We’re really looking forward to get to know each other more during the coming days, and we’re hoping this training will be an amazing experience and we’ll be able to accomplish a lot once we go back to our countries!!

Yours in Guiding,




14 May 2013, Day 2

With the ‘’fishing rod’’ in the hands of the participants, we were ready for day two fishing exercise. The day would not have begun in a better way, but by a photo warm up. Amazing images were captured by the participants. ‘’It was only day two and all images were professional” expressed by Claire the facilitator representing Photo Voice. It was exiting to learn how to use photographs to generate dialogue around the images.

As facilitators in development of unique projects addressing child and maternal health issues in our own countries, tips on our role as facilitators and the steps in group facilitation were provided. Facilitation of Child and maternal issues has been presented worldwide through different methodologies. Advocacy had been proved to be the best methodology that addresses issues and call for action especially on Child and maternal Health as it was reported by the facilitators.  The dilemma was how do we use advocacy as MOs?  An exciting session on being a WAGGGS advocate was presented.  By the end of the two sessions, I was ready to implement a project even without other details, though one would not be ready to take action without understating both internal and external environment. As a facilitator and advocate on child and maternal issues, I was required to reflect back in my country and do a SWOT analysis, with the project we intend to implement in mind. This was an eye opener that there is need of cautious actions when implementing a project.

Some topics can only be understood through use participatory methodologies. Given a chance to train on Power and risk or address cases related with power and risk within projects we intend to implement, might be difficult or end up to be a puzzle. It was amazing how the facilitators used a game as a training methodology to explain on how to address issues related to power and risks in Projects. By the end of the session we were able to contextualize projects within power relations and risk attached to the project either directly or indirectly. 

How would it be, being the first time to be in Europe and not touring London?  Thanks to Pax Lodge for organizing an approximate of five hours tour around London under the rain. It was fun and more fun I was left yearning for more Photography was put in practice during this exercise. Long live Pax lodge.

Joan Mutie. (Kenya) 


15 May 2013, Day 3

We started our day with a photo warm-up with the theme being a self portrait using the things that we had in our bags: A great opportunity for everybody to share about themselves and to know a little bit more about each other. We all were amazed by the creativity and depth everyone put into their pictures.

After that we went back to work hard, this time learning all about SWOT analysis, a great tool for us to asset our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that we can encounter while executing our projects! We focused on maternal and child health for this and came up with great ideas for the future projects that we will run in our countries.

Did you know that there are many international conventions that focus on this topics? And that most countries have ratified those conventions? We learned all about it! The exercise gave us an idea of how to approach government and other decision makers by studying different scenarios where the conventions are not being respected. Now we feel much more comfortable to advocate for people's rights at different levels.

Having that knowledge, the next stage is to know how to ask for consent while taking the pictures. We were very excited about starting to think about how is the actual process of taking the photos and the exhibition is going to work. There are so many factors to take into account to ensure that the project is going to be a success!

What about emotions? Did you know that increasing the creativity usually increase the emotions as well? We realized then how our photos have been changing during the workshop, as we have been increasing both day by day, and the result is great pictures. We are very happy for this, as it has given us confidence in our developing skills.

After that we finally started to think about our personal projects, starting to set goals, aims and objectives. We are from very different countries, from the five regions but we all want to achieve MDG 4 and MDG 5, which made us realize how different and yet similar we are.

Our very busy day finished with a free evening which gave us the chance to explore a little bit more about London, shopping and of course discover more about British culture.

Ale (Costa Rica) and Lilit (Armenia)


16 May 2013, Day 4

The sun was shining today just like the creative ideas of the participants. We started our day by taking a photo that represents either MDG 4, 5 or both. It was a great time to reflect on such sensitive issue and portray it in a creative visual manner.

Photo Voice HomeWe’re almost done with the training. It’s time to build a project plan by now but before that we were taught how to map a project cycle. From identifying the goal, aims and objectives to looking for partners, funding, the delivery of the workshop itself and evaluation, these were all briefly discussed to us by Clare of PhotoVoice.

We were also fortunate to have a short tour at the World Bureau. It was a wonderful building with lots of inspiration even if you are just in the door step.

Our next session was working with the captions, which is one of the most vital part of photography, as it is the guide for the viewers to convey the right message that you’re thinking. It really made a lot of difference especially when it comes to facts.

Before the event, we were also asked to bring 20 photos about home, culture and family. We were paired up and one acted as a facilitator to help in editing the photos and narrow it down to the top 5 and also put captions in them. It was actually one of the most difficult tasks since then but an advice from an expert facilitator made it quite easier.

It’s time to squeeze out the creative juices and make an exhibition. Everyone got unique ideas, from hanging pictures in strings, hula hoops, pinning them in shirts, to making glass stands and a lot more. It was amazing. We finished and the room looked like a modern art gallery.

I also discussed my Girl Scout project entitled Save Our Women and Children in 100 seconds in the Philippines 3 years ago. It was a photo contest in our local province that tackled children empowerment and violence against women. It was exhibited in a local mall for a week in line with the centenary celebration back then.  It has inspired the people in our community and stirred up women and children issues.

We went through the photos we did in the morning and discussed various ideas and point of views. We, then, concluded that day by sketching our body in a paper according to what we feel.

Night has arrived so fast and unfortunately it’s the last. We had dancing, BBQ and a pub quiz. The winning team for the amazing race was also announced, it was my team, led by Lilit (Armenia) and we were with Robyn (Australia) and Alejandra (Argentina).

Our passion for empowering girls and young women plus our creative photography skills will indeed make our projects a success. Looking forward to another fruitful day tomorrow.

Angeli Monique Siladan

Girl Scouts of the Philippines

17 May 2013, Day 5

Today was our last day, and a lot has happened. Last night we came up with a secret plan to say a proper goodbye to the facilitators PhotoVoice Handsand the Pax Lodge team. We created a picture with all of our scarfs and thank you written on our hands in our own languages. The next step of our plan was to all wear our official uniforms the entire day and take a group picture before lunch, that only the participants knew was used for the thank you cards. We took turns hiding in the shop to sign the cards. 

For todays photo warm-up we did 2 pictures one of empowerment and one of an emotion. During this week we have discovered that a lot of different emotions can be shown in just a simple picture, and this came in handy again today. Afterwards we started writing down our personal project plans, which we presented after lunch.

To end our week at Pax Lodge we had a closing ceremony. The Pax Lodge team had created a lighted path with different quotes and pictures from our sightseeing treasure hunt on tuesday night, which we entered one at a time. It was really emotional and it got us all to appreciate this week even more. At the end of the path we all wrote down our emotions, thoughts or feelings, and in the end we where all presented with the Pax Logde pin, our certificate and a gift. We then thanked Clare and Juliet from Photovoice, Amee, Jade, Anush, Nefeli and the Pax Lodge team, for this wonderful week and we gave them the cards. They were very surprised and amazed, and it all ended in a big group hug.

Thanks for everything!

Mailiis, Estonia and Christina, Denmark