Images and personal stories about the people we work with play a vital role in helping Care for Africa Foundation Inc (CfA) raise awareness about poverty and injustice, in bringing CfA’s work to life and in engaging supporters and the public.
However, in collecting and using these images and stories, we have a responsibility to protect the people that we are depicting, and to communicate truthfully with our audiences. We must ensure that all content is collected and used ethically, honestly and sensitively and with respect for people’s dignity and culture.
Our communications should reflect people, their experiences and the context of situations truthfully and authentically, and accurately describe the nature, scope and impact of CfA’s work.
CfA’s objective is to empower the communities we work with through our storytelling and communications content. We endeavour to empower and protect the people who share their stories with us. We are committed to representing people and contexts accurately and honestly. We value the importance of autonomy and are committed to working with all stakeholders in a way that upholds their dignity and respects their values, history, religion, language and culture
Ethics are about more than just doing the “right” thing, they “involve acting in the ‘right’ spirit out of an abiding respect and concern for others” and as such involve assessing risks and using ethical judgment at every stage of planning, content gathering, storage and use.
CfA is seeking to apply for ACFID membership and DFAT ANCP accreditation. This accreditation required a detailed assurance that CfA an ethical decision-making framework in place when making ethical decisions.
The purpose of this framework is to ensure that photos, videos and stories are collected, sourced and used honestly and ethically according to Care for Africa’s fundraising, legal, ethical and compliance obligations and our brand values, and that they portray the people and communities, with whom we work, with respect, dignity and truthfulness.
Images – means still (photographs and illustrations) and moving (video and animation).
Stories – the direct quotes, facts and personal details obtained during an interview and used in messaging, case studies, reports and communications.
Content — videos, photos, stories and interviews that Oxfam Australia commissions, collects or sources that illustrates any aspect of Oxfam Australia’s work, activities and functions and may be used in digital or printed communications.
Child – is an individual below the age of 18 years.
Images and stories collected must be authentic. They must accurately and respectfully depict the person, their lives and experiences, their story, their environment, their relationship to CfA’s work, and the context of their situation. People have entrusted us with their stories and images — we are the guardians of that. We do not exploit them, or misrepresent their situation.
When gathering images and stories you must accurately and honestly document and portray the conditions you witness, the personal story you are told and the intended meaning of information provided. This includes the blatant reality of need, as well as CfA’s work and the difference it has made to people’s lives. You should not exaggerate the situation, misrepresent it or understate it. This means you will need to work with the in country, Tanzanian team and program staff to ensure your visit is to a community that will fulfil your content requirements.
If we collect images and stories in places where CfA is not working and does not plan to work, either local CfA staff or partners must explain this clearly to the community before your visit, so that they don’t get false hope.
From time to time, you may need to set up particular shots or be somewhat creative with your imagery to help tell your story. This is okay, within reason, as long as you are accurately portraying the story the person told you in their interview and the context at the time of your visit, and are not trying to misrepresent these in any way.
As a representative of CfA, we always try to live CfA’s values in all we do. We do not want to perpetuate the stereotypes of people living in poverty, but instead show a true and accurate account of the ways in which people live. This means we show people as empowered, dignified human beings. We don’t portray them as submissive or helpless, nor as victims, objects of pity, or incapable individuals waiting for help from a “white saviour”.
People are survivors, not victims; they are active participants in work, in life and in bringing about change in their lives. In terms of our campaign work, we believe in collective action with freedom of association to be a basic right.
When documenting need, you should capture the reality of the situation in a way that we call “need with dignity” — portraying people respectfully; as having dignity and an inner strength and determination; capable individuals helping or wanting to help themselves.
We should not take images of vulnerable people shot from above, as this can reduce their dignity to the viewer. Ideally, images should be taken at the same level or looking up at a subject, particularly when showing need.
We do not take images of people who have died or are at the moment of death or people who are in extreme emotional distress.
The images and stories we collect should reflect the diversity of CfA and its work, capturing a range of ages, genders, ethnicities and being inclusive of people with disabilities, where possible.
You should only take images that directly relate to CfA, CfA’s work, the issue or situation CfA’s is trying to raise awareness of, or the personal story that a subject has shared in an interview.
All people we interview, photograph or film must give their free, prior and informed consent for us to do so. Where a person is under 18, we require both their consent (if they are old enough to understand) and their parents’ or guardians’ consent.
You must clearly explain to them:
You should take examples with you to illustrate this. If recording their interview on video or audio, be sure to ask their permission first, during the consent process, explaining that you wish to do so to accurately capture what they say.
People should be comfortable with the consent process and clearly indicate their willingness to participate. If they wish to place any restrictions on use of their name, stories or images, these must be clearly noted, so that we can record these with the resource on our Words and Pictures database.
Informed consent can only be achieved in the person’s own language. Ideally you should have a professional, independent translator with you — one who can speak both English and the local language, Swahili or dialect(s) fluently. Hiring a professional translator may not always be possible, but it will ensure that stories are captured accurately.
Wherever possible, it is recommended that CfA program staff or partner representatives visit the community beforehand, to advise them about the content trip, explain why we wish to gather stories and images and discuss any concerns with community leaders or potential subjects. Even if this has already been done before your visit, as the content gatherer, you are responsible for ensuring the people you photograph, film or interview have given their free, prior and informed consent.
You must respect local hierarchal structures to ensure that consent is sought from the correct people. In some communities the village chief must give his consent before any filming, photography or interviewing is done.
The most important aspect of informed consent is making sure a person truly understands what they are consenting to — this must be done in writing, and must be recorded.
A person has not been coerced, intimidated, pressured or manipulated into giving consent. If a person is not willing to participate, do not pressure them to do so.
Consent has been sought sufficiently BEFORE any interviews, photographs or video are taken and respects the time requirements of the community’s consultation and consensus process.
Informed consent means the person understands:
If someone places any restrictions on the terms of consent, please record these clearly in your notebook or on the consent form so they can be filled with the relevant resources on Words and Pictures
In some contexts, verbal consent can be sufficient, but it must be recorded and witnessed by two people on the same CfA consent form as if you were obtaining written consent.
Verbal consent enables a detailed discussion to take place between you and the subject and gives the subject an opportunity to ask questions and raise any concerns. It’s important you don’t rush this process and allow adequate time to ensure they clearly understand exactly what they are consenting to.
Always try to record this verbal consent on video or audio, recording the file name in your interview notes. If people want to put restrictions on their terms of consent, please note these in writing as they will be stored with the resource on our Words and Pictures database.
There are also special consent forms and processes for content gathering involving schools, children in Australia and Tanzania.
Completed consent forms are stored as confidential resources on our Words and Pictures database.
There are several things to keep in mind when filming or photographing people in public spaces or public events in action.
If the photo or video is to be used in external communications, you only need to get consent from those people whose faces are close up and/or are clearly visible and identifiable.
If people aren’t clearly identifiable by their face or name, then in most instances you don’t have to individually get informed consent from every person captured in the frame (or their parent or guardian). Two exceptions to this are:
In large group situations, often it is easier to explain informed consent to the whole group, then ask anyone who does not give their consent to let you know. You can then record this on film or audio, if possible.
Sometimes a village chief may give permission on behalf of his whole community for you to film, photograph or interview community members. However, always be sure you follow this up with the individual to confirm their genuine consent.
If you are filming or photographing on privately-owned or government-owned property, you are legally required to get consent from the owners or the relevant authority before you do so. This usually includes public areas such as parks, streets, rivers and beaches.
Be sure to research what permissions are required, from whom, well ahead of your shoot. Check whether there are any permits or licences you need to apply for or registrations you need to make, and allow adequate time in your schedule to obtain these. For example, if you plan to use a drone, you need to make sure you have met the in-country requirements around importing, licensing and registration.
If confidentiality, anonymity or personal security is a concern for the person being interviewed, filmed and/or photographed, this should be clearly noted and respected.
Discuss alternative ways with them to represent their story while protecting their identity — have them use only their first name, or choose a pseudonym; and/or photograph/film them with their faces hidden. Please do not make guarantees about limiting where their image or name may be published. It is not possible for CfA to promise people that they can restrict use of their photo or story (eg, not on the internet, not in their home country).
Shooting in a way that protects identity is crucial: this may be via back-view, up-close details (eg, hands), in silhouette or with their faces hidden by a headwear, their hands or prop. If the person wishes to use a pseudonym, ask them to choose one and write it down with a clear notation that is it is NOT their real name, as we need to record this on our Words and Pictures database. If a person chooses to use a pseudonym, do not record their actual name.
If the person still does not feel comfortable about being photographed, filmed or interviewed — or yourself, CfA program staff or partner staff feel there is too high a security risk in capturing the content — then do not proceed.
Ensure that any sensitivities and concerns are clearly recorded and communicated with local CfA staff and partners. Any measures taken to protect identity also need to recorded in your notebook and communicated to CfA’s CEO or Country Manager Tanzania so they can be stored with the resource on our Words and Pictures database.
Working with children is a sensitive issue and extra care must be taken when taking and choosing images, footage and quotes to publish, to ensure that children are properly treated and protected. CfA considers a child to be a person aged under 18 years.
Please ensure that you get informed consent from the child (if they are old enough to understand) as well as from their parent or guardian.
When collecting content at schools in Australia. CfA is usually covered by the school’s own parental consent process. Please check that this is the case, well ahead of the shoot. On these shoots, the school will advise which children are not allowed to be filmed or photographed.
For all other content involving children in Australia, you need to have the child’s parent or guardian complete and sign a parental consent form before the image can be used.
We do not record or publish any details which would reveal the location of children or their families. Be especially mindful that there is nothing captured in the frame (eg, signage, emblems) that may reveal specific location details. This includes:
In Australia, only record the name of a school that a child attends, if it is directly relevant to how the content is being used (ie, to promote the school’s program) or a and the school has given its permission ahead of the shoot.
When photographing, filming or interviewing children in Australia, we:
When photographing, filming or interviewing children in the field, we:
At CfA, we believe in the right to be heard and work to empower people to be in charge of decisions that affect them. Therefore, if a parent/guardian insists on using their child’s actual first name for cultural reasons, and gives you permission to do so, you can either:
While it is natural for children in some communities where CfA works to run around fully or partially naked, this is not the norm in Australia. At CfA, we can only use images of children where they are appropriately dressed for an Australian audience.
Do not take stills of fully naked children or children naked from the waist down, as we will not use these. Wherever possible children should be fully clothed, although this can be difficult in some of the communities where we work for a variety of reasons. In these instances, you may need to ask for guidance from local staff. Where it is not possible for a child to be fully clothed, please understand that we will not publish images where you can clearly see children’s genitals, nipples or bare bottom, or where children are not considered to be “appropriately clothed” (refer to break-out box below).
You are required to abide by our Child Safeguarding Policy at all times which will be kept on file at CfA.
Some questions to ask yourself before photographing or filming children who are partially clothed
If any of these situations, you are still required to ensure that the child’s genitals and nipples are not clearly visible – particularly for children who are not babes in arms – otherwise we cannot use the images.
CfA is sensitive to how it photographs and videos animals, to safeguard their welfare. While we do not judge other cultures on their attitudes and behaviours regarding animals, we must do everything we can to ensure animals are not distressed or harmed in the course of our content-gathering. Animals should not be mistreated, harmed, tortured or abused for the purposes of taking a photo or collecting video — they should be treated respectfully. We can only use images of animals that are deemed suitable for an Australian audience or that have been collected ethically. This means:
While on assignment for CfA, you are expected to treat all animals humanely and not support the mistreatment of animals or exploitative wildlife tourism that is not directly involved in animal conservation or animal welfare.
When you are gathering content, you must be sensitive to the environment and any impact your photography, videography or interviews may have on your surroundings. We ask that you conduct your activities in an environmentally-sustainable way, including taking care not to:
Be mindful of and sensitive to any cultural differences that may exist between yourself and the people you meet during your trip to Tarime.
Do not enter a community and impose your western ways, beliefs and expectations upon them. Be respectful and sensitive, following their lead and ways of life. CfA teams have often spent many years forging relationships and building trust with partners and communities. We must be mindful not to do anything that may damage those relationships.
Always be culturally aware and culturally sensitive. If you are unsure whether something is appropriate — ask CfA staff first.
Do not ask people to do or say things which sensationalise their situation, go against their cultural practices, or which they might find demeaning.
Try and include them in discussions about how they will be photographed or filmed, whether they have any questions they would like to ask you, or any other information they wish to share.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
When addressing a person from another culture, you may need to consider:
If you intend to film sites of cultural significance, or aspects of local culture such as traditional ceremonies, performances, music or artworks, you must always obtain and record the consent of the relevant traditional owners, Elders or leaders.
If we are trying to elevate the voices of people living in poverty, we need to be sure that we are representing what they say with the utmost accuracy and without any bias or censorship.
It is crucial that translations are accurate, honest and free of prejudice. The best way to ensure this happens is to engage a professional, independent local translator. The translator hired should be able to speak English and the local dialect(s) fluently so we can capture a person’s full, detailed story in their own words and limit the potential for bias, censorship or misunderstanding.
When working with a translator, speak directly to the person you are interviewing. Sit face-to- face and maintain eye contact (where culturally appropriate). Ask your questions to them,
not to your translator. Use the person’s name when asking questions, so that they know you are speaking to them. Resist the temptation to turn to face your translator to hear answers — keep your focus on your interviewee.
Ensure responses are translated in first person (eg, “I work in the fields every day, so I can feed my family” not “She works in the field every day so she can feed her family”). Ask your translator to retain the detail of answers, exactly as they were spoken
Translation should be as close as possible to a word-for-word account of what the person is saying and should try to retain the colloquial flavour of the original words. If you don’t feel the translator is providing verbatim translations, then please raise this issue with them privately, and respectfully, or ask local CfA staff to do this for you.
Images and footage supplied to CfA must be accurate and authentic representations of what was shot.
A photographer is permitted to do some basic colour corrections to their images, as part of their artistic process, before delivering them to CfA. However, no changes should be made that alter the concept or context of the image or misrepresents the true picture. For example:
Wherever possible and practical, CfA will work to endeavour to provide subjects with copies of images and materials in which their image and words are used.
We do not normally pay communities or individuals to take their images or collect their stories, particularly during short visits where the time commitment of the subjects is not more than a few hours.
However, in exceptional circumstances, where we may need a longer time commitment, it may be appropriate to compensate individuals on a “loss of income” basis.
Care should be taken at all times to handle these issues as sensitively and transparently as possible without giving potential cause for conflict. If in any doubt, please defer to the advice of local CfA staff and partners.
CfA will store all raw video, photos and interview transcripts. An edited selection will be uploaded to our Words and Pictures database, as open resources for a period of five (5) years, as per our general terms of consent. After this time the resource will be archived and restricted.
At CfA we are working to tackle poverty and injustice in Tarime, Tanzania. We are very careful in portraying this work that we protect the rights, dignity and voice of the incredible people we work with. The images and stories we use, must be an honest and accurate account of people’s personal stories and the situation in which they live. Authenticity is vital to uphold CfA’s strong reputation and brand.
That means in our communications we are very much guided by these ideas of protection, dignity, authenticity, inclusiveness and voice.
CfA has a wealth of content material we use to tell the story of our work — whether it be photography, video, interviews or case studies.
In practice this means that when using this content, we take care materials:
Have the consent of people who are in them.
Depict people in a dignified way, with agency over their own lives. This means:
Give people a voice and an identity. This means:
In depicting difficult, traumatic or high-risk situations we try to:
We respect and value the people we work with and are inspired by their stories of change. However, there are times that we also must show the reality of life for people living in poverty, including the need and challenges they face.
The images and stories which show incredible need are very powerful, and can be a big motivator for people to donate money or take more action. We can show need and the reality of where we work, but we always do it with dignity and respect — portraying people as survivors, rather than victims; as capable, rather than helpless; with an inner strength, determination and self-worth. In a nutshell this means we treat people they way we would wish to be treated.
We ask the question: would I like to be depicted like this? Would I like my children to be depicted like this? If this answer is no, then either don’t use it or change the way you are using it. If you are unsure, check with the CEO, Strategic Advisor or Tanzanian Country Manager.
This can sometimes make showing the reality of where we work, what we do and the issues we tackle a bit trickier, but it is still achievable.
Please also be sensitive about using photos of dead animals. While these may help to show the reality of a drought or famine, many readers and viewers can get highly upset seeing these. If there is another powerful image you can use, try to do so.
When showing the impact of CfA’s work, it’s important not to sensationalise, embellish, exaggerate, understate or misrepresent what work CfA is doing in a particular community or the support it is giving to a particular family. The same goes for the impact of that work or support. Our communications should accurately reflect the situation and context at the time the content was collected.
Please also ensure that any words or phrases you use to describe a humanitarian situation comply with terminology which has been agreed to by CfA (either at a global or country level).
When selecting an image or story to use, always consider the date the content was collected. If the content was collected during a special event, is high-risk content, or more than two years old, ask yourself the following questions.
Content more than five years old is automatically archived and restricted on our Words and Pictures database.
Any restrictions around use of images or stories, including any special terms of consent, will be clearly noted in the “restrictions” field for the resource, on our Words and Pictures database. If your proposed use falls outside these restrictions, you must seek approval from either the CEO, Strategic Advisor or the Tanzanian Country Manager.
If a person’s name has been changed or their face hidden to protect their identity, this must be clearly noted either in the caption or copy accompanying the photo.
Resources with “confidential” access cannot be used under any circumstances.
If consent is withdrawn to use an image, it will be marked “confidential” on our Words and Pictures database and CfA will make every effort to withdraw the image from internal resources and the public domain.
For imagery, particularly from the field, this means what the photographer or videographer saw is the same thing the viewer sees. It is important images show the reality and are not set up or manipulated to make a situation look worse, better or different to what it actually is.
While it is easy to alter an image via Photoshop so it has more impact or will look aesthetically better — that is something we just don’t do. Not only is it not accurately representing the picture that was taken, but it is also is considered a brand risk.
What is allowed:
What’s not allowed:
• altering colour and brightness levels to make something look worse or better;
Sometimes we may be required to blur or alter part of an image due to a potential brand or security risk. You must seek approval from the CEO, Strategic Advisor or Tanzanian Country Manager before doing this and then note that parts of the photo have been altered in the caption or copy accompanying the image.
If you wish to use any images or stories of children, whether commissioned by CfA or sourced from a third party, you must ensure that you do not publish:
When collecting new content in the field, CfA will provide an additional level of protection to children by no longer recording their real first names, where culturally- appropriate. In these instances, a culturally-appropriate pseudonym will be chosen and agreed to at the time the image or story is collected.
This pseudonym will be used on our Words and Pictures database and the “restrictions” field will clearly note that the child’s name has been changed to protect their identity.
On occasion, there may be instances where a child’s real first name is recorded and can be used — for example, for an Australian child with their parent or guardian’s consent or for children whose parents consider the use of a pseudonym culturally inappropriate. The simplest thing for you to do is to use the child’s first name as it appears on Words and Pictures and do not include or use any other identifying information as listed above.
Any information which may identify the location of a child, should not be reproduced in communication materials involving children. This means:
Images reproduced in CfA communications should be appropriately credited, wherever possible. We give an undertaking to photographers to do this in their terms of reference for assignments.
Credits should be reproduced as they appear on our Words and Pictures database, with the photographer’s name and copyright holder. Our style is either:
Photo: Ann Smith/Care for Africa Photos: Jo Boggs/Care for Africa Photo: Diane Jones/ Ben Johns/ /Care for Africa
If the photo has been supplied by a third party, then we either:
CfA believes in helping to give people an identity. Wherever possible, try to include a written caption close to the relevant image which:
If the above details are covered in the body copy of your communication, you can insert the words “pictured” in round brackets next to the person’s name. In these instances, you only need to include a photo credit.
All content that CfA uses in external communications which it has not gathered, commissioned or created itself must still reflect our values, Ethical Guidelines, and meet our compliance obligations. This applies to all content from third parties, including content which has been:
If you are unsure, then please seek advice from the either the CEO, Strategic Advisor or Tanzanian Country Manager.
All third-party content should be appropriately licensed, credited and/or referenced, where applicable and follow any additional sign-off or restrictions, as indicated or advised, by the supplier.
If using a third-party image, supplied by another CfA affiliate, check whether they have obtained the appropriate global, multiplatform licence for the image before using it.
In most instances, CfA content team (CEO, Strategic Advisor or Tanzanian Country Manager) will be responsible for sourcing appropriate third party, non-CfA content for use, as needed, for external communication materials.
CfA will only grant use of its images to third parties who will use them to raise awareness of CfA’s work, where such use complies with these Ethical Content Guidelines and is on a non-commercial basis.
CfA believes in giving people a voice – we amplify their voice; we don’t put words in their mouths or misrepresent what they say to suit CfA’s message. Although it may be tempting to edit, omit or alter part of what a person says, to make it seem more compelling, urgent or desperate, or more aesthetically pleasing, we don’t do this. We always quote a person accurately, maintaining the meaning, emotion, context and authenticity of what they are saying. We do not alter their quote to suit our communication objective.
When quoting directly from a transcribed interview or trip report:
• If you feel the quote is unclear and needs to be changed, you must speak with the CEO first. If they concur, they will update the quote and change it in the official transcript/trip report and on our database.
• You may only omit words or parts of a direct quote if:
o the quote is particularly long or rambling;
o the quote contains words that are not essential to the speaker’s meaning;
o you have limited text space;
o you wish to make the speaker’s meaning clearer;
o you wish to link two continuous quotes within a single thought or the same topic; or
o you signify that words or phrases have been left out by inserting an allusion
o (…)with a single space either side.
Before (all words included):
“My main source of income is charcoal burning. First, I have to cut trees, fill a sand pit, burn the wood, chop it up. It’s a long process and very tough work. I do everything myself” harry says.
After (using an ellipsis to indicate missing words):
“My main source of income is charcoal burning……. it’s a long process and very tough work. I do everything myself,” Harry says
When omitting parts of a quote, you must not:
“We go [to the water well] every day,” she said.
“The community pays 2,000 /= per family per month (about AUD 12cents) for the water,” Mr Mwita said.
When quoting translated speech into a trip report or interview transcription:
• Present the material as a direct quotation as close as possible to the actual words the person uttered, bearing in mind that a translator may not say the words in Australian English.
Do not significantly change, rewrite or misrepresent what people say or alter their meaning in any way.
When writing subtitles for a video:
We have specific guidelines for writing English subtitles for videos. This will usually be done by a member of the Content Team or Creative Design.
Always use first-person, direct speech. Do not summarise what people are saying because it may fit neater onto the screen. You can omit unnecessary or irrelevant words, but you cannot edit down the quote in any significant way.
Please find Photo/Story Release Form
CFA-D3.V1 Ethical decision-making framework
Effective Date: 7 August 2020 Document
Approved By: Board of Management.
Controlled Document — Printed Versions are not controlled. CFA