‘Wake Up and Smell The Coffee’

Photovoice in Ethiopia

Wake up and smell the coffee! is a CIDA-funded Canadian Public Engagement initiative conducted through research into Post Harvest Management to Improve Livelihoods (PHMIL) project. This initiative involved the production of a 19-minute documentary film, in which a group of grade 8 and 9 students from two schools in a coffee growing region of Ethiopia are captured doing a photovoice project about gender and environmental issues in their lives. Wake up and smell the coffee! is about young people taking photos and taking action and the film is to be distributed in Canadian schools, to inspire grade 6 to 9 students to take photos and take action in their own lives.

 Following the filming of Wake up!, PHMIL interns Jen Thompson and Katie MacEntee conducted participatory exhibition workshops with the  film participants from the urban school in Jimma, Ethiopia. A selection of their photos, as well as the film Wake up and smell the coffee! were exhibited for their friends, families and communities at School day Рthe last school day of the year. In these photographs, which are also showcased in the film and a selection of which are shown below, the youth raise ongoing issues that concerned them such as deforestation, drought and soil erosion, as well as the gender division of labor, access to agriculture markets and the gendered economic implications of coffee production. The exhibit was an opportunity for young people and adults to discuss these environmental concerns and what their communities can do to help address them.

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