Monday, March 9, 2015

Ghanaian Times Photojournalist Sets Record In Northern Ghana

Geoffrey Buta
GEOFFREY BUTA is an unassuming and outgoing media personality of a kind, whose shadow of good works stretches to almost all the corridors of the northern savannah zone of Ghana and beyond.

He is one of the few Ghanaian photojournalists many rural and urban dwellers particularly women and children will never forget of ever seeing in their homes, farms, market places or festivals taking pictures that rightly captured the low and high moments of their lives. Buta as he is affectionately called by colleagues enjoys capturing captivating and amazing moments in the lives of women through the lens of his camera.

A staff of state-owned newspaper– The Ghanaian Times, a subsidiary of New Times Corporation, Buta is the GJA Photojournalist of the Year 2012. In the same year, he received the award for best journalist for road safety reporting (print category) from the National Road Safety Commission; and was also finalist for Human Rights Photography in Africa (People’s Choice Award) organised by German Development Media Awards/Deutsche Welle.

In 2013, Buta won “People’s Choice Award” for my foto4change project organised by Reach for Change and Tigo; Best Journalist for road safety reporting (print category) from the National Road Safety Commission; as well as Thompson Reuters Foundation/Nokia Photo Award 2013 in the UK.

As the world commemorates the 2015 International Women’s Day Celebration, Buta decided to organise a photo exhibition in honour of all the women he had met during the course of performing official duties since he was posted to come and work in the Northern Region.

The exhibition showed dozens of pictures of hardworking and accomplished women as well as those who are depressed and suffering taken from different locations in the Northern and Southern parts of Ghana.

Buta told Savannahnews, that the exhibition was to allow patrons to learn about the significant contributions of women towards the development of their communities and families, appreciate them for their efforts and support them to realise their dreams or potentials.

According to him, most of the women he came into contact with over the years lacked the necessary support and capacity to be able to do what they want to do in order to establish themselves economically and be able to take very good care of their families.

He called on government to consciously institute measures such as giving grants or micro credit schemes to rural women to enable them go into small and medium enterprises because such initiatives had the ability to lift them and their families out of poverty.  

The public exhibition, first of its kind by a photojournalist in the history of Northern Ghana, saw patron saying kudos to Buta for telling heart-touching stories of women from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.

The pictures of the women were taken from the Upper East, Northern, Volta, Brong Ahafo and Eastern Regions as well as neighbouring Burkina Faso. Some of the pictures describe how women in different parts of Ghana are trying to eke a living, make an impact in their society or how they are being maltreated by the traditional justice system in their society. Some of the women are peasant farmers, traders, alleged witches, traditional cloth weavers, small scale mine workers and among others.

Chairwoman of the exhibition Mrs. Gifty Baka called on Ghanaian men to celebrate the little achievements and efforts of women particularly their wives, daughters and sisters and encourage them to attain greater heights in anything meaningful they get themselves involved in.

Mrs. Baka who is also Country Director of Christian Children’s Fund of Canada commended government for introducing LEAP 1000, a social protection programme intended to alleviate poverty levels among 6000 women living in the Northern and Upper East Regions. She however urged implementers of the programme –Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, to manage the resources judiciously so that each and every beneficiary would get what is due her.

International Women’s Day is celebrated globally and annually on 8 March to highlight the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a historic roadmap signed by 189 governments 20 years ago that sets the agenda for realizing women’s rights. While there have been many achievements since then, many serious gaps remain.

This is the time to uphold women’s achievements, recognize challenges, and focus greater attention on women’s rights and gender equality to mobilize all people to do their part, United Nations Women said in a statement. The Beijing Platform for Action focuses on 12 critical areas of concern, and envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination.

To this end, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is the clarion call of UN Women’s Beijing+20 campaigns “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!” 

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