More than 3,300 people from 77 countries entered this year's photography competition run by the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), a World Bank initiative that advocates for more financial services in vulnerable communities. According to the group, there are nearly two billion people around the world who lack access to basic banking. Their annual photo competition aims to document the struggles and successes of those business owners outside the system.
"I appreciate that the photographers understand the work they were producing has the power to directly impact and improve the lives of one or many," competition judge Nicole Crowder, the photo editor of The Washington Post's photography blog In Sight, said of the photographers’ work. The grand prize winner will receive a $2,000 gift certificate for photography equipment and his image will be displayed on the Times Square Jumbotron in New York City.
Below, is a selection of images by the winners and the honorable mentions as well as caption information provided by CGAP. Each prize, either for a designated theme or region, preceeds the caption.
Honorable Mention: A gravel-crushing workplace in Chittagong, Bangladesh remains full of dust and sand. These workers have come to work here for six months. Afterward they will return home or move on to other work.
East Asia and Pacific Region: Workers pass through dunes in the morning in Vietnam.
Lê Minh Quốc
Second Place: In China, fishermen use nets early in the morning. They sell their catch at the market to make a living.
Middle East and North Africa Region: A watch repairman at work in Bur Dubai.
Evans Claire Onte
Grand Prize: A family farms their paddy field during monsoon season in Chilkirhaat, Cooch Behar, West Bengal, India. Rice is the staple food of the state, and paddy cultivation plays a major role. Men, women and even children take part.
Honorable Mention: In a fishing village in Nhatran, Vietnam, these women are repairing fishnets for their husbands for the next journey to the ocean.
Honorable Mention: An Indian man looks out though a small window in his shop while a woman enters through an adjacent lane. The owner of the shop uses electricity and telephone cables to run his shop and finance himself.
Honorable Mention: Camel sellers enter a market in Egypt.
Digital Finance: Although this Indian woman comes from a remote village 50 kilometers away to sell ginger and garlic in the city, she is always smiling. She and other street vendors have no permanent place to sell their goods but manage to find places to do so, like under a truck or a bridge.
Honorable Mention: A man at work storing Betel nut in a local market at Teknaf, Bangladesh.
M. Yousuf Tushar
Honorable Mention: A young boy and his father work in their shop bending iron in Kolkata, India.
Honorable Mention: Asgar Mia works in a small re-rolling industry. Small industries are rapidly growing in Bangladesh and facilitating many job opportunities for unemployed people.
Mohammad Rakibul Hasan
Small Business Enterprises: An Indian man makes a traditional silk sari at the first floor of his small house in Varanasi.
Eastern Europe and Central Asia Region: A peasant family in Bursa Aksu village, Turkey, make tomato paste.
Sub-Saharan Africa Region: Smallholder farmer Farida Balama harvests maize in Tanzania. She works with her father Beatus to help provide for their family, including her 20 sibilings. Her father could not afford to educate her or her siblings of the same age group, but since receiving planting supplies on credit from One Acre Fund, his harvest yields have improved and they are able to enroll the younger children.
Honorable Mention: A Chinese herdsman family, with support through loans, bought thousands of sheep. They sell wool, goat's milk, and mutton to make a living.
Third Place: A teen girl helps her father in a potter’s village in Mankundu, West Bengal, India. Five years ago, they have started the pottery with a small loan from Co-operative Bank in their home. After making clay pots, they sell it in the local market of Chandanagar.
Honorable Mention: Duck breeding and egg harvesting is the main income for this family in Vietnam.
Tran Van Tuy
Smallholder Families: Old Ladakhi women work in a mountain field. They grow vegetables to sell it at local market in Ladakh in northern India.
Latin America and the Caribbean Region: Eleuterio Arturo Leon Mejia, who is more than 90 years old, has been dedicated to the profession of hairdresser since he was 25 years old. From his barber's chair, he has given style and elegance to several generations of his neighbors. He lives in Carhuaz (Ancash), Peru, together with his children and grandchildren, who are engaged in agriculture. With this small but appreciated business, he continues to contribute to his family.