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Development Progress exhibition and panel event: Through the people’s lens

Time (GMT +00) 00:00 00:00



This two week exhibition hosted at Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in February and in partnership with PhotoVoice showcased photographs and narratives by community members in China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nepal, Peru and Tunisia who were supported by PhotoVoice to share their views on what's working and why. Areas explored by local community members included education, maternal health, political voice, urban poverty, women’s empowerment, water management and renewable energy.

View all of the content from the exhibition online.

Special Event

ODI hosted an evening of lively discussion on shifting narratives and images of development progress on the evening of 26 February at the RGS (with IBG).  The evening looked at how, with unprecedented access to technology, those at the grassroots are now able to tell their own stories direct to a world stage. How does this challenge perceptions of development? And what does this mean for the traditional story-tellers – journalists, photographers, film-makers and charities?

The evening featured a keynote speaker and expert panel debate, with complimentary drinks, a world food buffet and the opportunity for those attending to explore the exhibition.

Keynote speaker:

  • Binyavanga Wainaina  – a Kenyan author, publisher and cultural worker and the founding editor of one of Africa’s leading literary institutions Kwani. In 2014 he was named as by Time magazine as one of 100 most influential people in the world.

Welcome speech:


  • Award-winning Al Jazeera journalist, Juliana Ruhfus
  • Business woman and one of Forbes 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa, Mariéme Jamme
  • Oxfam's Communications Director, Jack Lundie
  • Chaired by Director of Communications at ODI, Ishbel Matheson.

The evening proved to be a huge success, with over 500 attendees and some really positive feedback:

'Refreshingly original and a beautiful, honest collection of perspectives. Loved the film!'

'Thank you for an inspiring and engaging event.'


A podcast presented by Chris Fitch featured head of Development Progress Susan Nicolai and Senior Communications Officer Katy Harris introducing our 'Through the people's lens' photography project in partnership with Photovoice and discusses how the project is ensuring that the very people affected by global progress have their voices heard in the wider conversation.

Listen to the podcast here.

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) 1 Kensington Gore London