A Child's Right to Participation: Photovoice as Methodology for Documenting the Experiences of Children Living in Kenyan Orphanages


  • Ginger A. Johnson


Through ethnographic research, including participatory photography or “photovoice,” this research project explored the changing landscape of childhood faced by children living in orphanages in Kenya amidst ongoing political violence and disease epidemics. In particular, the research focused on documenting children's perceptions and experiences in two orphanages: the urban Kayole Rehabilitation Centre, a governmental agency in Nairobi; and Flying Kites Kenya, a rural nonprofit organization in Njabini. Each child was given a reusable 35 mm camera and instruction about photography. Children were asked to take pictures of daily experiences and people of importance to them. Participatory photography projects with orphaned children in both locales revealed a new conception of “family.” Ethical considerations when using visual methodologies with children are also discussed.