Sudan Assignment Continues: EDC SSIRI Project

Another day here in Juba, shooting Eduction Development Center's Southern Sudan programs. The day started out with heavy rain and the humidity lingered throughout the day...

I’ve spent the day documenting Education Development Center’s SSIRI  (Southern Sudan Interactive Radio Instruction). The project is a program of the Southern Sudan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST). It is funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and administered by Education Development Center (EDC). Four SSIRI activities provide learning opportunities for children, adults, and teachers in Southern Sudan.

Working in place like Sudan, or just about anywhere that I work, means being flexible. Today we had itinerary that was completely planned out from 830 in the morning until 7 PM, but due to some torrential rain in the early morning hours, our schedule was doomed from the start. In Juba where most roads are unpaved and unmaintained, a rain storm means the cancellation of many normal activities for business people and students.


This morning we were to meet the minister of education. Using Education Development Center’s Toyota land cruiser, we were able to get to the minister’s office on time, but were informed that he was still trying to get into the office. After waiting for some time we decided to proceed with the rest of our schedule. We visited a school where the S. S.I R. I program was in effect. The photos that you see here are images of the classrooms will children during a radio lesson.



Here is some more information about EDC’s radio project:

THE LEARNING VILLAGE: IRI programs based on the Southern Sudanese Primary School Syllabus. The lessons are designed to complement classroom instruction in local language literacy, English language, mathematics, and life skills for Grades 1-4.

RABEA: Radio Based Education for All provides an excellent opportunity for Sudanese to learn or strengthen their English language skills.

PROFESSIONAL STUDIES FOR TEACHERS: A non-traditional distance learning course to improve the teaching practice in Southern Sudan. The programs are based on the MoEST in-service teacher education program.

ALTERNATIVE LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES: Some classes are unable to use the radio lessons because of broadcast schedule times. SSIRI provides alternative digital devices for these groups.

Towards the end of the day today, I had a chance to meet with the local communications people of the Sudan office of EDC.  I was asked to give some advice to their staff about picture taking. It was an opportunity for me to explain a little bit about how I go about making the images that you see here.

During the discussion, I pointed out that the images needed to be strong in terms of subject matter, often requiring  that the camera be very close to the subject in order to fill the frame.

I also explained the use of leading lines to draw a viewer’s attention to a particularly important part of the photograph. For example in the image above and left, I used the lead lines of the window frame to draw attention to the radio. that is used to listen to the broadcasted  lesson.

I explained about the use of natural light rather than flash because of the beautiful quality and softness of natural light.

Here in Sudan and in many of the countries I work,  I am photographing dark-complected people in a hot & humid environment.  When photographing people who are sweating, the use of flash creates specular highlights on the wet skin of a person’s face.That’s why magazine models are often “powered” repeatedly, it eliminates the distracting reflections.

The image below was taken in the shade, but adjacent to strong, bounced sunlight.I tried to balance the image by placing the subject to the left while allowing the empty classroom to provide a bit of context and interest on the right side of the frame.

It’s only 10 PM here in Sudan, but it has been a long hot day. I had just read through what I have written so far and I can see that it’s pretty rough, but I’m too tired to fix it so I’m off to get some sleep. One of these days when I’m on a fast Internet connection, I’m going to try to figure out how to get the text wrap to work properly, and also figure out a format that allows me to display larger images. But at this moment I’m just happy to slap something up here for all of you to see. It seems that every time I finish a paragraph or upload an image the Internet connection fails and I have to begin all again. So again I’m off to bed thanks for following the blog and I will try and update with more images of information tomorrow.

Finally here’s a bit of raw, unedited video footage of the radio lesson…



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