CAIRO: Moroccan social entrepreneur Faiza Hajji Wozniak won first place in an eco-themed photo competition sponsored by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in partnership with the Agence France-Presse Foundation and camera manufacturer Olympus.
Wozniak received a certificate from UNDP, a digital camera and camera equipment from Olympus, in addition to a two-week internship at one of AFP’s bureaus in Africa.
The judging panel included Nobel Peace Prize winner and Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai and four prominent photojournalists from across the globe.
The main objective of the competition is to encourage ordinary people to work to preserve the environment and reduce the effects of climate change in their communities, which was inspired by the upcoming 15th Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen that will be held in Denmark in December and that will bring together 15,000 officials from 192 countries.
Wozniak’s photo essay covers IFASSEN – which means ‘hands’ in Berber – a fair trade project that was launched by Wozniak in partnership with the government of France and Morocco. The project aims at decreasing the number of plastic bags in the environment, while helping Moroccan women receive a fair income.
IFASSEN employs 21 craftswomen in the making of fashion accessories. The women collect the surplus plastic bags that litter their community’s fields and streets, then clean, dry and weave them together with local alfa grass that they pick.