Young people to tell their climate stories through new photo project

‘The Green Rising’, launched by UNICEF South Africa, OHCHR Southern Africa, Maverick Citizen and EPA Images, will support young people to tell the visual story of the impact of climate and environmental change on their lives and how they’re fighting back.

03 October 2023
Two young females bending over a bucket of water from a stream behind them, with their friend looking down from above.
UNICEF South Africa/2022/Ngcobo

PRETORIA, 03 October 2023 –A new photography project, ‘The Green Rising: Climate Impact & Response – Through a Fresh Lens’, is calling for young people to articulate, through photography, how their lives are being affected by climate and environmental issues and how they are adapting and fighting back. 

The project will bring what are often viewed as abstract issues to light through the voices and images of children and young people in affected communities. Young people, aged 15 to 24-years, interested in climate and environmental action and visual storytelling are encouraged to submit their applications to join the project.

Selected participants will work with EPA Images Senior Visual Correspondent, Kim Ludbrook, to learn photography and storytelling techniques and to produce a photo book and exhibit.

“The climate crisis is affecting children and young people today,” said Christine Muhigana, UNICEF South Africa Representative. “This project gives the agency to youth to share their stories of the reality of climate and environmental shocks but also the practical ways in which they are adapting and minimizing the impact,” added Muhigana.

This child and youth-led body of work aims to trigger an emotional response and understanding among readers and viewers to document issues, ideas and help drive social change. The content produced will provide documentation of history and increase the visibility of young people who are on the frontlines of fighting back against the climate and environmental crisis.

The project launches following the release of ‘General Comment 26 on children’s rights and the environment, with a special focus on climate change’. Published by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, this provides guidance to States on what they must do to uphold children’s right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. The release comes as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights marks its 75th year.

“Young people directly affected can shine a spotlight on the climate change and environmental issues that they face,” said Abigail Noko, Regional Representative for Southern Africa, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). “Some 75-years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, our work with and support to human rights defenders and youth climate activists takes on ever more significance,” added Noko.

“Putting young people at the centre of the climate and environment story help us to better understand the impact on young lives and should be an obligation, given they are the future generation who will grow up and inherit the planet,” said Anso Thom, Managing Editor, Maverick Citizen, a section of the Daily Maverick.

  • Young people aged 15 to 24-years are encouraged to submit three photos that show the impact of the climate crisis and / or environmental degradation in their community. The images should be accompanied by three to five lines of text that explain how the photos represent the issues they face and how they are working to adapt and to reduce the impact within their communities. 
  • The call for participants will remain open until 20 October 2023.
  • A team consisting of EPA Images, UNICEF South Africa, OHCHR and Maverick Citizen will judge the photos received and select the 10 participants.
  • The participants will be invited to attend two separate photo workshops led by EPA Images to produce their body of work.
  • The final photo exhibit and book will be launched at an event in April 2024 to mark Earth Day.

‘The Green Rising’ is a UNICEF and partners global initiative to mobilize 10 million young people to take concrete climate actions in their communities and countries by 2025. This links to GenU SA a public-private-youth partnership that focuses on the learning to earning transition and aims to skill and connect young people in South Africa to training, entrepreneurship, work and social impact opportunities by 2025.

How to submit your photo entry

Children and young people aged 15 to 24-years can submit their photos (ideally from a digital camera but phone or other digital device will be accepted) and their text to:  

Please share three photos with 3 to 5 lines of text that explain why your image/s reflect the impact of the climate crisis and / or environmental degradation in your community and explain how you are working to adapt and to reduce the impact.

Media contacts

Toby Fricker
Chief of Communication & Partnerships
UNICEF South Africa
Tel: +27 61 418 7486


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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