Alliance Photo & Film Competition

 The Alliance Annual Photo & Film Competition 

The Alliance photo and film competition runs every year and ties into the broad theme of our Annual Conference. Winning entries will be exhibited as part of a brand new digital exhibition in the runup to COP26 and at our 2021 Annual Conference, as well as receiving a prize package worth £100. You can see previous winners at the bottom of this page.

Our photo and film competition is an opportunity for international development practitioners, photographers, videographers and anyone else with a link to Scotland to showcase sustainable development projects across the world. We particularly welcome entries from our members and their partners, but our competition is open to all with a link to Scotland. Get involved!

Our 2020-21 winners

In 2020-2021, our photo competition was themed around Seeing the Climate Crisis from the Front Line. Below, you can see our 5 winners, including our grand prize winner, and the runners-up forming our top 10. An appointed panel selected winning entries based on how well they reflected the theme, their photographic/video quality (focus, composition, creativity, delivery) and whether they complied with ethical guidelines - showing human subjects in a positive light, speaking to gender sensitivity and being consensually and thoughtfully used.  For more information on ethical guidelines see our ethical imagery resource list.

All of the winners, as well as over 30 other images from 13 countries, will appear in our upcoming digital exhibition Facing the Crisis in the runup to COP26. The exhibition, opening in July 2021, has been developed in collaboration with our members via our working group and with financial support from WaterAidSCIAFMercy Corps and Tearfund. Each photo and film tells its own story and gives you context for the many different ways communities are being affected by, and responding to, the ongoing crisis. As you journey through this exhibition, visitors will also be shown ways to learn more, advocate for climate justice, and take action on climate ahead of the historic UN climate negotiations coming to Glasgow in November 2021.

Check out the exhibition

Jennifer Simbi, a farmer and mother of two in Chikwawa, Malawi, leans on a fence in a field of sorghum.
Left image: A long shot of an older Kenyan man with one arm standing in a forest, gazing up at the sky. Right image: A closeup portrait of an Ethiopian woman in bright clothes, with a desert visible out of focus behind her
Left image: A portrait of a fisherman set against a twilight sky. Right image: An Indonesian homeless man sits under a shadowy bridge
Five photos (described below)


Grand prize winner

Jennifer Waits (Colin Hattersley for CCPM)

Chikwawa, Malawi

Jennifer Simbi, a farmer and mother of two in Chikwawa, is one of those who has found new and exciting responses to the climate crisis.  Through the Climate Challenge Programme Malawi she has been supported in switching to a  new crop which is more resistant to extreme weather conditions. She has begun to grow sorghum, instead of the traditional crop of maize.

“Last year we did not grow anything on this land, it was too high up, the maize won’t grow here. But the sorghum has grown very well.”

Between her 26-strong local group they’ve harvested 200 bags of sorghum this year. Last year the same group only grew 60 bags of maize.

“Because of the flooding this year the maize was lost, but because the sorghum was on higher ground it was fine. Even with the heavy rain, it survived. I think it is tougher than the maize. Without the sorghum we would have had serious problems this year.”

She explained that Nsima, the local staple meal can be made with sorghum instead of maize. “It’s different, but I like it! I am happy to be involved with this programme. We didn’t use this land before, so it’s very good we are using it now. Because of climate change, the rains are inconsistent now. We need tougher crops like this that can resist flood and drought.”

The CCPM is a Scottish Government initiative helping rural communities in Malawi find innovative solutions to problems caused by climate change.

Other winners

Henry awaits rainfall in drier conditions than usual (Frederick Lernyerd for Send A Cow)

Busia Country, Kenya

65-year-old Henry has seen rainfall steadily decline over the years. Food security issues are intensifying, and he has had to change the crops he harvests so he is less dependent on rainfall. Agricultural technologies have allowed Henry to use considerably less water, and now he can even grow vegetables during the dry season. Changing weather patterns is not the only difficulty Henry faces, being disabled comes with its own pressures. The single father continually rises to the challenge, however, proudly supporting his two eldest children who are in university.

Orbisa (Chris Hoskins)

Afar, Ethiopia

Orbisa lives with her husband and nine children in Afar, north-east Ethiopia – one of the hottest inhabited places in the world. During the rainy season, Orbisa could collect water from a river just five minutes’ walk from her village. As the dry season has extended due to the changing climate, this river has now dried up and no longer provides for Orbisa and her family. Orbisa and other women from her village now have to travel for hours each night to collect water for their families.

Fisher’s rights are human rights (Jacki Bruniquel for One Ocean Hub)

South Africa

“I hope to see the ocean restore itself to what it was”, says fisherman Simlindile Gxala. Small-scale fishers in South Africa are struggling to make a living and, despite their inter-generational expertise, they remain excluded from ocean decision-making. The Strathclyde-led One Ocean Hub is working with small-scale fishers to establish a coastal justice network, to support recognition of their human rights with a view to contributing to more inclusive ocean governance.

Climate change has brought profound impacts to the livelihoods of small-scale fishers, yet they are excluded from climate negotiations. To build resilience and adaptation to climate change through environmentally just and equitable processes we need to make decisions about the oceans that are inclusive of different voices. 

Homeless and Vulnerable in the Climate Crisis (Rod Penn)

Jakarta, Indonesia

This image shows Pak Kosim, one of over 30 people who have made a home on the underside of this low river bridge in central Jakarta, Indonesia. The inhabitants of this bridge sleep on wooden platforms suspended just a metre or so above one of the heavily polluted toxic rivers of Indonesia’s capital. I took this image as part of an Indonesian student report on the state of homelessness in Jakarta. Though the economic and social impact on homelessness can be connected with the climate crisis, there is another reason why I have selected this image for this year’s topic.

In January 2020, Jakarta experienced its worst flooding since records began, 62,000 people were evacuated and displaced and at least 21 people died. Heavy flash flooding in Jakarta has become the new normal in the past ten years as climate change and air pollution leads to more extreme weather events. Jakarta is particularly affected as its annual temperature rise has been 1.4 times higher than the global average. This increase in temperature has been attributed to high concentrations of CO2 from transportation, industry and deforestation. Though the entire population of Jakarta (30 million people) feel the impact of these floods, it is the poorest and most vulnerable who are paying the highest price. Jakarta has over 28,000  homeless, many of whom have taken residence alongside or under the bridges of the 13 rivers of Jakarta.

The head of the BMKG has said, “ Extreme weather & climate phenomena are happening more frequently and with greater intensity. Such occurrences are predicted to increase if we fail to carry out mitigation measures.”


Combatting Climate Change in Namibia (Philippe Talavera for Ombetja Yehinga Organisation)


This is a celebration of the work done by one young person to make a difference. This specific photo was taken during 16 year old Samantha’s interview of the United Nations Development Programme resident representative to Namibia, Mrs Alka Bhatia. 

Tereza calls the future (Govati Nyirenda for CCPM)

Chikawa, Malawi

Tereza Matias doesn’t need to be told about climate change,aand her story highlights the climate challenges faced by many. “When you say climate change I see it in the changes here,” she said. “I see the dry wells and the droughts that stop our crops growing.” When she’s away, her small battered mobile phone, held together by an elastic band, is a lifeline back to her family – but it’s not easy to keep it charged as she has little or no access to energy.

Green Fields of Hope (Netsanet Feleke for Christian Aid)

South Omo, Ethiopia 

In 2020 swarms of desert locusts destroyed crops across a huge region of South Omo, Ethiopia.  Climate change is making the weather more erratic and periods of drought, followed by heavy rain, create ideal conditions for locusts to breed, grow and then swarm.  In the photo Borgodo Tsobe proudly stands before her field of bright green maize crop, planted from the emergency seeds supplied by Christian Aid through a local partner.

Glory the vegetable grower (Graeme Clark for Malawi Fruits)

Ekwendeni, Malawi

Glory grows vegetables for the local market, thanks to solar powered irrigation delivered through a Futurepump supplied by Malawi Fruits. The pump mitigates the effects of climate change and is used to give consistent watering during the rains and as the sole means of irrigation in the dry season.

Aerial View of a borehole (Dennis Lupenga for WaterAid)

Chisi Island, Zomba, Malawi

One-and-a-half million people live in the areas on the Lake Chilwa basin, which is one of the most densely populated areas in southern Africa. There is a large island in the middle of the lake called Chisi Island with a population of over 3,750,. The level of water is greatly affected by seasonal rains and summer evaporation. There are six boreholes on the island but often only two have water. This area has no other source of water so the borehole shown is shared with the community. The borehole dries up after drawing a few buckets of water, leaving many people stranded in the line waiting for their turn

Read more about these entries and more photos and films at the exhibition from July 2021

Go to Facing the Crisis

Interested in seeing top entries from previous competitions?

Click the links below!



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