Empowering Winners, Inspiring Communities: The Impact of the Indigenous Innovative Solutions Photo Contest

Join us in meeting Kevin Ochieng Onyango, a participant in the latest edition of our Indigenous Innovative Solutions photo contest. This is the first in a series of profiles highlighting the winners and exploring their journeys and achievements beyond the contest. Get inspired by their remarkable work and discover the impact they continue to make.

Kevin Ochieng Onyango, a talented 25-year-old photographer and climate activist, stood out as one of the winners in our “Indigenous Innovative Solutions” photography contest 2022. Specifically recognized in the “Innovation and Climate Change” category, Kevin’s inspiring journey originates from Siaya County, Kenya. He belongs to the Luo Indigenous People, whose ancestral land is intricately intertwined with “Nam Lolwe,” also known as Victoria Lake. In Kevin’s own words, “Nam Lolwe” signifies “something that seems to have no end” in the Luo language. Nam Lolwe forms part of the Indigenous Cultural Landscape of the Luo, serving as a vital resource and a social hub for the local fishing community. “Some of the traditions and some of the beliefs and superstitions are based on the stories from the lake,” says Kevin.

Photography to Inspire Indigenous Innovative Solutions

Kevin’s passion lies in using photojournalism and media tools as a means of social advocacy, shining a spotlight on the issues affecting his community and the environment at large. With a primary focus on climate change, his work aims to educate and raise awareness about the devastating effects it has on Mother Nature. “This can be done in the form of screenings, in the form of exhibitions to my community. This has turned out to be very helpful, because they have come up with some innovative solutions that have been implemented. For example, the regenerative agriculture approach.” Kevin firmly believes in the transformative power of photography, capable of sparking crucial conversations and driving the implementation of policies to safeguard his community’s land from degradation and the vulnerabilities associated with climate change.

Indigenous Cultural Landscape

Deeply rooted in his community, Kevin’s artwork reflects the profound connection that the Luo People share with their Indigenous Cultural Landscape. “Nam Lolwe,” the lake where his ancestors have lived and transmitted knowledge through generations, serves as a source of inspiration and identity. Through his lens, Kevin captures the essence of this ancestral bond and the resilience of his community in the face of environmental challenges.

Inspiring the Next Generation

Kevin is driven by a desire to inspire young Indigenous individuals to use photography as a powerful tool for raising awareness about environmental and social issues. “My dream is to create a network of young photojournalists and storytellers who are advocates and activists of the climate through training them on photo reporting and journalism skills. This will give the younger generation the most important tool which is having a voice for the environment and hence raise a responsible generation,” says Kevin.

“The Last Breath”: A winning photo of the Indigenous Innovative Solutions photo contest

Kevin used a powerful name for the masterpiece that made him a winner. This poignant photograph encapsulates the urgency to address climate change and its impact on Indigenous communities. Admire the winning photo and other compelling images that showcase the captivating world of the Luo community below and see more of Kevin’s work here.

Stay tuned to our social media channels to discover the profiles of the remaining winners, as we continue to highlight the transformative power of Indigenous photography.