MindMe International through a partnership with Global Imaging Company; Canon, has established a photography and video empowerment training program in the informal settlements across Kenya.

This is aimed at impacting photography hands-on skills to the youths aged between 16-35 years to create self-dependence and empowerment. We are working with diverse groups in various informal settlements across the country. Some of these groups are made up of youths who were involved in crime and wish to change. Hence the main outcome will be a tipping point in terms of youth empowerment and self-dependence both economically, socially leading to behavioral change among the youths and the rest of the community.


The youths go through 3-5 days of video and photography practical training with cameras, lenses, accessories, and training provided by Canon. We are keeping the numbers at a manageable number of 15 so each trainee can access a camera in each training. They then go and document the life of their communities where we later organize for an exhibition and have a dialog engagement on the various issues documented. The program is fully participatory and dialog-based. All successful workshop participants are certified. The trainees are encouraged to engage in various photography events for practice and also start earning. We also enlist them in various internships and work placements. Through the partnership with Canon, we have an equipment loan program aimed at loaning equipment to the successful participants as they get work. The most promising trainees from within the community are trained to become workshop leaders/ trainers for sustainability. We are partnering with various like-minded organizations in the informal settlements as the program spreads. Currently, all workshops are being held at our safe community spaces.

In previous training sessions, the program has proved to be so effective in perception shift of other community members and local administration like the police since when they see the youths being trusted with cameras and training opportunities it triggers a change in their attitudes towards the youth who were or considered to be in crime. This has led to a reduction in crime levels and security in the settlements. Some older community members even want to join the training sessions. The trainees also interact with their communities as they engage them in conversations during the practical assignments. The members of the communities also express the social issues they are going through and solutions they feel can be effective. Issues discussed are around: economic empowerment, health, gender equality and inequality, security, crime, water and sanitation, education, environment, etc.

Every 6 months we aim to have a big community exhibition that invites all community and various stakeholders like local governments and leaders so the photographs and videos can foster dialog and solutions to various issues.

We are looking and welcome to more partners and support as we spread to other informal settlements and rural areas.