Photo exhibition – Youth & Rural Development

From October to December 2019, the Rural Youth Innovation Award Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) held the photo contest “Youth and Rural Development”.

Participation was massive: we received stunning photos from more than 80 young people in the LAC region. Some portray moments of intense work in the field, others shed light on celebrations, rural landscapes or share the intimacy of traditional knowledge.

Among the participants, we selected 10 finalists to display their photos during the Rural Youth Innovation Award official award ceremony, scheduled for June 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony will now take place virtually in early July. However, the Award team wanted to ensure the realization of this exhibition and share it among the region. Therefore, we present below our online exhibition.

We invite you to browse the following images. For more information about the authors and photos, see the photo description at the bottom of this page or click the [i] icon in the gallery.

Once again, we thank all the young people who participated in this initiative!

Enjoy it!


The photographs presented below are organized in alphabetical order, according to the photographers’ first name.


Title: Corn smiles

The work of those dedicated to carry bags full of corn, as portrayed in the picture, is known as “costaleros”. Moments before the photograph, a costalero was unable to lift the 60 kg bag into the truck and the man in the middle came in quickly to help him. The scene generated a moment full of laughter, effort, magic. Despite the hard work of these people, there are always moments of joy – a reflection of the daily lives of millions of agricultural workers in Latin America and the Caribbean. In this case, the joy was evidenced through a big laughter from everyone.

The photo was taken at San Pedro Tlanixco, an indigenous city in Tenango del Valle, Mexico.

Title: Entrepreneurship and inclusion of black people;

One of the alternatives adopted by black people in Brazil was entrepreneurship, guaranteeing both inclusion in the labour market, as well as self-assertion and protagonism in ethnic-racial issues. Even so, the average salary of a black entrepreneur is half the average salary of a white entrepreneur. Although the scenario is far from perfect, black people continues to tackle the challenges and play a leading role in different territories. This is the case of João Paulo de Almeida, 31, a young rural entrepreneur from the Coité Pedreiras community , from Caucaia/CE. João always worked in agriculture and is used to help his parents in planting corn and beans. Nonetheless, he always noticed challenges and wanted to diversify his production. Today he works with vegetables, such as coriander, chives, lettuce and carrots. “My business idea came about when observing the absence [of certain products], it was through this distress of having to travel to Caucaia’s city to get some products that I saw that I could implement it in our own community. So, all of this aroused my curiosity to endeavour ”, highlights João. João Paulo develops his production on the community site of Ylê Malungo. The production is sold within the community, in neighbouring locations or by order.

The photo was taken at Coité Pedreiras de Caucaia, Ceará, Brazil.

Title: Youth resisting in the field with handmade babaçu coconut soaps

The smell of aroeira, lemongrass and the freshness of the sweet orange aroma gave us the possibility to continue resisting in the field. Our youth group “Juventude Agrícola da Serra” is formed by young people from two communities in the municipality of Ipueiras, state of Ceará, Araçás and Baixa Verde. We process the babaçu coconut oil for the production of ecological soaps. Together with the group of babaçu coconut breakers – part of IFAD`s Paulo Freire project, we noticed the possibility of using oil for the production of soaps and thus obtaining an extra income within our community, as well as holding youth meetings to talk about our dreams, sustainability and income generation from our natural products.

The photo was taken at Ipueiras, Ceará – Brazil.

Title: the resistance of artisan fishing in Caetanos de Cima

Caetanos de Cima is a traditional community of fishermen and farmers who resist in defense of their territory and culture. Artisanal fishing is one of the two main sources of survival for residents of the Community, and it has suffered severe threats of extinction. However, it is hopeful to see youth so excited and proud to be from the sea, and assert themselves as young fishermen.

In the photo, young people and adults, parents and children, are pushing their boat to the sea, starting another of their daily fisheries. A manual job, which requires persistence, wisdom, patience, synchrony and partnership.

The photo was taken at Caetanos de Cima, district of Sabiaguaba Ceará – Brazil.

Title: Honeys of Hope

Cesia Hernández, 23, is part of a group of young people dedicated to beekeeping – a work alternative in the dry corridor of Nicaragua area. The region has been affected by the climate in recent years, causing huge losses in the production of basic grains. In addition to producing honey, she also produces honey derivatives and, together with other members of the youth cooperative, works on reforesting their communities by caring for the environment and promoting the production of flowering trees that feed bees.

The photo was taken at Aguas Carlientes Community, Somoto, Department of Madriz, Nicaragua

Title: Young Fisherman

With the fishing rod in hand, the fisherman throws himself in his canoe with the strong will of returning with the catch of the day. Others sneak up to the swamp’s banks in the dark night with a shotgun loaded wanting to deliver a straight hit that will take them home with a delicious snack, after dedicating their day with the little ones to the muddy work of planting rice. This same rice can be eaten with coconut and bocachico (a type of fish common in Colombia), rice grown with manioc and cheese. Or it can be used as supply to that sloppy person who live in the city that, without realizing it, eagerly eats and hears the idea of a bitter Colombia, without understanding that in the river, sea or swamp there are hundreds of peasants who dedicate their days to the care of distant cities.

The photo was taken at La Barra, Buenaventura, Colombia.

Title: Agro Youth

With pride, Luz Helenga Longa García (30), a Chinese potato farmer and processor, shows the tuber, feeling blessed for her work of contributing to this product innovation. Asochip, an association located in Bajo Calima on which Luz takes part, is made up of 119 people, including 30 yout. The organisation cultivates Chinese potatoes – tubers produced in humid tropical conditions that are also a source of food in the nutrition of many people in the country. After being processed, it is possible to make delicious cakes, pies and chinese chips with it.

Bajo Calima is a region that belongs to the municipality of Buenaventura. In 2018, it was chosen by the Colombian Ministry of Vivienda as one of the four forest centres in the country. In this way, young farmers and entrepreneurs contribute to the innovation and development of the rural and agricultural sector, contributing to their country’s economy.

The photo was taken at Bajo Calima, Buenaventura, Colombia.

Title: Youth who dares to fight

The image taken from a simple cell phone camera does not diminish the beauty of the moment. Instead, it evidences how through the beams of light the immense amount of garbage collected transforms. It shows all the strength of a youth that alone, managed to collect the garbage from an area of about 5km in the mangrove region.

The photo was taken at Acupe, Santo Amaro, Bahia – Brazil.

Title: Kalunga Soul

The photo was taken in Vão de Almas, one of the 39 communities in the Kalunga territory, the largest quilombo (a hinterland settlement founded by people of African origin) in Brazil. This small community is named after the river that runs through the municipality of Cavalcante, in the State of Goiás. The young Alcenitorres, together with his family, shakes the manioc grown on his own land. The river and the land today are threatened by the Santa Mônica hydroelectric project. If carried out, this work would contaminate the main sources of subsistence for the Kalunga’s from Vão de Almas. Alcenitorres understands that the best thing for its people development is to guarantee an ecologically sustainable economy that respects the right to land, which in their culture means the same as the right to life.

The photo was taken at  Vão de Almas, Cavalcante, Goiás – Brazil.

Title: Beyond a surname

Gabriel Guerrero and coffee farming have known each other for over 60 years. He produces [the coffee] sustainably so that his children can inherit fertile land. Due to the high inequalities in rural areas, he has sent all his children to university so they can return and close these gaps, even if he did not had access to high school, much less started his higher education. Gabriel Guerrero and his sons share more than blood or surname, they share the view that youth and rural development can coexist, because they grew up loving what they know. Today they are adding value and innovating with coffee, which has always been a commodity.

The photo was taken at La Coipa, Cajamarca, Peru.