Global Health recognizes excellence

•May 1, 2009 • 3 Comments

gblhlth_mag_logoOn May 1, 2009, I was recognized as the winner of the Global Health Council’s 2009 Photography Contest.

Annmarie Christensen, Global Health Council’s  Director of Publications/New Media and Executive Editor of Global Health Magazine, recently informed me of this unexpected honor and went on to add:

“You have topped the field, in this particularly competitive year, which saw a number of professional photographers and more than 550 entries from every corner of the world. The jury found the lighting of your subjects  particularly compelling in the way it brings out colors and nuances, and were struck by the composition. You are impressively talented.”

I was very moved by the receipt of this award and feel fortunate to be able to share my images and experiences with Global Health and to help support their important work around the world.

As a result of receiving this award, I will be exhibiting the award-winning images and other relevant photographs from my recent project Capital of Hope, at the annual international conference on Global Health. The conference will be held May 26-30 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, and globalhealth.org expects over 2,000 participants from around the globe.

I look forward to seeing you there and sharing your insights to my work and discussing photographic or documentary opportunities related to your organization.

Read all about it

•April 9, 2009 • 2 Comments
Capital of Hope Book

Capital of Hope Book

If you’re uncomfortable with new  media and yearn for something more traditional, we’ve got just the thing for you— the Capital of Hope electronic book. It’s the closest thing to a physical book that we can deliver over the internet.

Capital of Hope is a comprehensive photographic essay that captures Mark Tuschman’s visual impressions of the effects of microfinance on the community of Pokuase in Ghana, Africa. The photographs are grouped into several chapters, which attempt to tell a story that transitions between the harsh reality of poverty to the far horizons of hope that  WomensTrust is enabling in this emerging part of the world.

To view a preview of the book, just click on this link Capital of Hope Preview. You can turn the pages of this PDF file just by using your right and left arrow keys.

Enjoy!

Capital of Hope

•April 9, 2009 • 2 Comments
Ghana, Africa

Ghana, Africa

At first glance, the economy of Pokuase appears essentially as a barter economy. But During the course of 2007 and 2008 I made several trips to Ghana to document the effects of microfinance investment in Pokuase, a small town located approximately one hour from the capitol city of Accra. I had previously traveled to Ghana for various photographic assignments and found the poverty pervasive and overwhelming. Yet this unforgiving environment was mitigated by the wonderful Ghanian people whose kindness and warmth is always evident.  Because poverty in the third world is so endemic, I wanted to see for myself if rising interest and investment in microfinance offered a pathway out of the endless cycle of hardship, hopelessness and despair for these enterprising people.

WomensTrust, a microfinance operation founded by Dana Dakin, afforded me the opportunitysewing_wmn to document their inspiring work , capture the visible effects of their effort, and share it with the world. The photographic essay that I created and produced captures my visual impressions of the results of WomensTrust investment in the community of Pokuase. The images attempt to tell a story that transitions between the harsh reality of poverty to the far horizons of hope. The images, taken throughout Ghana, are my attempt to illustrate an environment of pervasive poverty and  the heart and soul of opportunity.

We have assembled a book documenting the results of the WomensTrust initiative and it is available for purchase. To learn more, contact Mark Tuschman.

Muhammad Yunus gets it right

•April 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

younsA U.S.-educated professor of economics, named Muhammad Yunus, started an experiment that would have profound implications. In 1974, during a famine in his native Bangladesh, Yunus discovered that very small loans could make a significant difference in a poor person’s ability to survive. At this time, traditional banks were not interested in making tiny loans to poor people, who were considered poor repayment risks. His first loan consisted of $27 from his own pocket which he lent to 42 people including a woman who made bamboo furniture, which she sold to support herself and her family.

The success of this first effort has grown and matured to inspire similar efforts throughout the developing world and even in industrialized nations including the United States. Many, but not all, microcredit projects place their emphasis on lending specifically to women. Statistics support the best practice methods of micro finance by initiating the loans to women, who have been found to be much more likely than men to repay loans and to devote their earnings to serving the needs of the entire family. While many micro finance lending programs were started with men and women, they later focused exclusively on women when data showed they had dramatically lower credit risk.

As Yunus came to understand, the process of receiving a loan and paying it back has a profound psychological impact on the loan recepients. The small loans that microfinance enables women receive allows them to grow their businesses and provide a sense of hope and confidence to the grantees. The positive effects of this change in attitude is imeasurable.

I have made a personal commitment to support the spread of this fast growing economic activity by investing my time, resources, experience and talent in documenting the visual effects of microfinance. My efforts have led to engagements with many non profit and NGO organizations, such as the Global Fund for Women and Womens Trust, whose efforts support the principles and vision of Muhammad Yunus. I can only hope that my contribution and my images capture the acquired sense of self-determination and assurance that women discover in their new ventures.

 
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