1st Place; The Women’s Peace Movement in Congo by Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
Nearly 20 years on from a conflict that killed five million people and upended tenfold more lives, the Democratic Republic of Congo is once again sliding into chaos. As renewed conflict with the M23 rebels, massacres and regional militarisation caught the world’s attention this year, the vital contribution of women to peace remains invisible. Despite escalating violence, some women are working to create dialogue between armed actors and communities. They track human rights violations, warn of impending violence and plead with rebel leaders to stop attacks. In doing so, they take immense risks.
Pairing rare visuals of the frontlines with portraits and in-depth stories from women, this long-term project follows activists as they mobilise. While media crews come in briefly to shoot scenes of war and displacement, I have spent many months in hard to access areas covering conflict and documenting the slow work of peace from a unique perspective.