CGAP Photo Contest Winners Capture Empowerment, Resilience, Innovation

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 29, 2016 – CGAP today announced its 2016 Photo Contest winner as Zay Yar Lin from Myanmar. The winning photo, “Lend a Helping Hand,” was chosen from more than 3,000 entries from 70 countries for its stunning composition and tender depiction of a girl helping her father to make pottery for sale.

The photo was taken in the Twante township, near the photographer’s home in Yangon. Lin shared that although he is a seafarer by trade, photography is his real passion. He said “I believe photography helps people to see and feel. I love to capture the culture of people and places and their daily lives.”

Although Twante potteries are known throughout Myanmar and are in huge demand, the younger generation continues to seek opportunities outside the township. The judges remarked on how the photo captures the passing of a valued, but potentially diminishing, skill from one generation to another.

Two billion people around the world lack access to basic financial services like savings accounts and credit. There is increasing evidence that financial inclusion is a critical enabler for many of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations to guide the global development agenda, such as fostering quality education and promoting gender equality. For 11 years, the annual CGAP Photo Contest has sought out original and compelling images that show the impact that financial inclusion can have on people’s lives around the world.

The 2016 CGAP Photo Contest invited submissions in four key areas that are instrumental to advancing financial inclusion: (1) Mobile money and innovations in digital finance; (2) Women’s economic empowerment; (3) Resilience; and (4) Small businesses. The panel of judges consisted of Nicole Cappello, Senior Photo Manager at National Geographic; Emily Epstein, Visual Editor at The Atlantic; and Indira Williams Babic, Director of Photography and Visual Resources at the Newseum.

The three judges shared their thoughts on the selection process.

Nicole Cappello said it was “humbling to see the pride and resilience and perseverance of people around the world.”

Emily Epstein shared that “this body of work is not really something that exists on wire services. The message is one of respecting people in charge of their own destinies.”

Indira Williams Babic stated that “photography is one of the most powerful means of telling a story. Being able to tell your story through images, which are accessible to everyone, is a good way to further your mission.”

The 2016 Grand Prize winner will receive a $2,000 gift certificate for photography equipment and a display of his winning photograph on the Times Square Jumbotron in New York City.

Grand Prize Winner and Finalists

  • Grand Prize: Lend a Helping Hand – Zay Yar Lin, Myanmar
  • Second Place: Life in Water – Sujan Sarkar, India
  • Third Place: Farmer's Family – Pyae Phyo Thet Paing, Myanmar

Thematic Winners

  • Mobile Money and Innovations in Digital Finance: Coconut Farm – Eakarin Ekartchariyawong, Thailand
  • Women's Economic Empowerment: Floating Life - Md. Zakirul Mazed, Bangladesh
  • Resilience: Dream Defeated Disability - Faisal Azim, Bangladesh
  • Small Businesses: Decorative Umbrella Maker - Agung Lawerissa Setiawan, Indonesia

Regional Winners

  • Africa: Imagination - Wim Opmeer, Kenya
  • Europe and Central Asia: Felting - Bülent Suberk, Turkey
  • East Asia and Pacific: Old TV Re-Used - Ly Hoang Long, Vietnam
  • Latin America and Caribbean: Warmi Jilaqata 3 - David Martin Huamani Bedoya, Peru
  • Middle East and North Africa: Sacré Sacrifice - Brahim Faraji, Morocco
  • South Asia: The Responsibility - Sujan Sarkar, India

Honorable Mentions

  • Giselle Demonstrates Solar Light - Hailey Tucker, Burundi
  • Fish Bazaar - Md. Mahabub Hossain Khan, Bangladesh
  • Cast the Net - Minh Quoc Le, Vietnam
  • Always with a Mother - Tatiana Sharapova, Myanmar
  • Mobile Banking - Sean Sheridan, Ethiopia
  • Women Labor on Red - Md. Masfiqur Akhtar Sohan, Bangladesh

People's Choice

  • Mat for Sleeping or for Living - Gem Rose Cavalida, Philippines

About CGAP

CGAP is an independent think tank that works to empower poor people to capture opportunities and build resilience through financial services. We test, learn and develop innovative solutions through practical research and active engagement with our partners on building responsible and inclusive financial systems that help move people out of poverty, protect their gains and advance global development goals. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP is supported by over 30 leading development organizations committed to making financial services meet the needs of poor people.