Original Articles

Photovoice as a Methodological Tool to Address HIV and AIDS and Gender Violence amongst Girls on the Street in Rwanda

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 18, issue 3, 2008 , pages: 413–419
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2008.10820217
Author(s): Jean-Paul UmurungiNational University of Rwanda,, Claudia MitchellMcGill University,, Myriam GervaisMcGill University,, Eliane UbalijoroMcGill University,, Violet KabarenziRwanda National Police,


This study involved a particular group of children in Rwanda—girls who are living on the street and who miss out on education. Noting their relative absence from “the picture” in relation to accesses to services, the study explored how participatory visual methodologies have the potential to “put them in the picture.” In this article, we describe a photovoice intervention aimed at getting the perspectives of these girls on issues of safety and security, particularly in the context of risk of HIV and AIDS. The participants in the study were 16 girls between the ages of 11 and 14 from the province of Ruhengeri. We asked the following questions: What can a girl do with a camera? How can the data serve to deepen our understandings of ways of addressing the educational, health and social needs of girls living on the streets? While our study reaffirms the potential contribution of participatory approaches embedded in a theoretical perspective, to produce relevant analyses that have application in the real world and as providing a practical way to make possible involvement of people with low literacy skills such as young girls living on the street to determine and prioritize the issues that affect their lives, it also points up critical issues related to ensuring that the voices of the girls are heard by policy makers. The paper concludes that policy makers and planners also need to be involved in the process.

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