Africans win photo prizes

NEW YORK - Three African photographers have been named winners in an eco-themed photo competition held by the UN Development Programme in partnership with the AFP Foundation and Olympus Cameras.

NEW YORK - Three African photographers have been named winners in an eco-themed photo competition held by the UN Development Programme in partnership with the AFP Foundation and Olympus Cameras.

The winning pictures - chosen ahead of December's international climate change talks in Copenhagen - feature tree planting in a Kenyan water catchment area, a project in Morocco to turn discarded rubbish bags into handbags, and a newly married couple in Kenya planting a tree.

Jacob Otieno, a Kenyan newspaper photo editor, won first prize in the professional category of the contest called "Picture This: Caring for the Earth." Morocco's Faiza Hajji Wozniak won the photo essaycategory.

Simon Ndegwa, a Kenyan youth pastor, won the amateur category.

The three photographers will receive their prizes in New York.

"By showing us what ordinary Africans are doing to tackle climate change, we see the extraordinary power of photographs to tell stories," said Helen Clark of UNDP.

"These photographs will help carry the message to Copenhagen that the poorest and most vulnerable stand to lose the most from climate change, and must be part of any agreement," she said.

AFP Foundation director Robert Holloway said the prize highlighted journalists' importance in tackling climate change.

"Climate change has no respect for borders, and the media's role in documenting how people in different parts of the world are coping with its effects is very important, as it can also inspire action in others," he said.

The winners will be awarded digital cameras and equipment from Olympus Corporation. The winner of the professional category will undergo a two-week internship at one of AFP's bureaus in Africa.

The second and third place winners are from Cameroon, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Senegal and South Africa. All are to be awarded Olympus digital cameras. - Sapa-AFP

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