All You Need to Know About the 2017 CGAP Photo Contest

25 July 2017

Do you have a photo that shows the impact of digital finance on the lives of the poor? If so, share the photo and the story behind it with us!  

The 2017 CGAP Photo Contest is now open for entries. Last year, participants submitted over 3,000 photos from 70-plus countries. Through your lens, CGAP has been able to highlight the importance of financial inclusion in people’s lives. To kick off this year’s contest, we are answering some of the most common questions that we get from participants.

CGAP 2017 Photo Contest


What is the CGAP Photo Contest?

At CGAP, we seek to identify and maximize the impact that financial inclusion has in improving the lives of low-income people. For 12 years, the CGAP Photo Contest has collected striking images that help illustrate this impact. Winners of the contest receive prizes for photography equipment and accessories, along with being featured online through media outlets that publish the gallery of winning photos. The photos also help us tell our story on CGAP’s website and in promotional materials. Learn more about financial inclusion.

Who can participate?

The 2017 CGAP Photo Contest is open to all photographers, both amateur and professional, who are at least 18 years old. Some exclusions apply, so make sure to check out the official rules.

What are you looking for in photo submissions?

This year’s contest comes as more people than ever before are gaining access to financial services through digital channels and using these tools to manage their financial lives. Reaching traditionally excluded populations such as women and youth remains paramount. At a time when more people are displaced in the world than at any other time in history, innovative efforts to reach crisis-affected populations with financial services are critical and growing.

With this in mind, we have identified the following four thematic categories to inspire this year’s participants:


Where can I get some inspiration?

Banks, microfinance institutions, mobile network operators and others are rapidly innovating how to reach more customers with financial products and services that they want, need and will use. We regularly highlight these innovations on our blog and in our newsletter. We also encourage you to explore other blogs we like to learn more about financial inclusion.

Are you seeking entries from specific regions of the world?

The settings can be anywhere in the world, from rural areas to big cities. Regional prizes will be awarded to winners from across five regions, with special recognition going to those that come from the Middle East and North Africa as well as Latin America and the Caribbean.

How many photos can a photographer submit?

Up to 20 photographs may be submitted per person.

How do I submit an entry and what information should I include?

You can enter original photos that you have captured within the last two years. They can be digital images or scans of prints. Each photo submission must be accompanied by a caption describing the activity or situation depicted and the date, location and country where the photo was taken. Where appropriate, the name of the person(s) photographed should be provided.

Remember to treat all subjects with respect and dignity. Keep in mind the rights, sensitivities and culture of the communities and/or persons depicted, including their right to consent to be photographed. Make sure you represent the situation fairly, as well as the subject’s identity and the physical location of the image, without alteration (other than standard photographic techniques for optimization, including removal of dust, cropping, adjustments to color and contrast, etc.).

What prizes are awarded to winners?

CGAP intends to award the following prizes:

  • The Grand Prize winner will receive a $2,000 gift certificate for photography equipment and accessories.

  • The winners of this year’s four Categories (Innovations in Digital Finance, Building Sustainable Livelihoods, Creating Opportunities for People in Crisis, and Connecting People and Services) will be awarded a $500 gift certificate for photography equipment and accessories.

  • A Regional Spotlight Award in the form of a $500 gift certificate for photography equipment and accessories will be awarded to photos from the Middle East and North Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. Additionally, a $300 gift certificate for photography equipment and accessories will be awarded to winners for photographs taken in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or East Asia and the Pacific.

  • Judges may also select up to eight additional winners to receive a $250 gift certificate for photography equipment and accessories.

  • Finally, a People’s Choice Award winner will receive a $100 gift certificate for photography equipment and accessories.

When will people vote for the People’s Choice Award?

Voting for the People's Choice Award begins on September 30 and ends October 6, 2017.

Who are the judges?

The judges include award-winning photographers and visual editors in documentary, magazine and news journalism.

When is the submission deadline?

All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. US EST on September 29, 2017.

When will the winners be announced?

Winners will be contacted via email at their registered email addresses by early November. We also plan to announce the winners and winning photos on our website in late 2017.

Can I see last year’s winners?

Yes! Explore the stunning winning images from the 2016 CGAP Photo Contest.

Where can I send questions and comments?

Please e-mail further questions to [email protected] or leave a comment below! 

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