#WorldToiletDay2019 – Images & short film ©Jason Florio / United Purpose NGO

David lost his legs after as a result of coming into contact with poison – he used to have to crawl into the bush to defecate, and all the dangers which that presented. Now he has his toilet. Image ©Jason Florio / United Purpose Nigeria

Today is World Toilet Day2019!

Today is World Toilet Day! Play your part in ensuring no one is left behind without sanitation – United Purpose Nigeria, NGO

Watch a short film for #WorldToiletDay2019 made by Jason Florio
and Zane Dedlow for United Purpose

Polio Victim Lawrence Itsu of Bisu ward constructed his own toilet after his community was triggered, Nigeria © Jason Florio

Polio Victim, Lawrence Itsu, of Bisu ward constructed his own toilet after his community was triggered. He is a shoemaker, teacher and also offers computer services in his village. He is married with five children. Image ©Jason Florio/United Purpose

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Looking back: A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush, 930km African Odyssey

Chief Jara Sowe and photographer, Jason Florio, The Gambia, West Africa ©Helen Jones-Florio 2009

A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush –

930km African Odyssey

Throughout November and December 2009 Expedition: The first-ever circumnavigation, completely by foot, of The Gambia, West Africa by award-winning photojournalist & filmmaker, Jason Florio, and photography producer, Helen Jones-Florio, three Gambians, two donkeys, and a cart!

Along the way, Jason shot what have become award-winning, internationally exhibited, portraits of the traditional village chiefs – the Alkalo – and elders

‘Silafando – a gift to you on behalf of my journey

The following exert is from the expedition blog, ‘930km African odyssey’ – words by Helen Jones-Florio:

Despite turning up unannounced, at the end of a long day of walking, each village that we approached kindly permitted our raggle-taggle, road-weary team to pitch our small camp. This generous acceptance was mainly due to the fact that we used the age-old tradition and protocol for approaching the Alkalo’s – by offering them ‘Silafando’

Gambian village chief and his brother - portraits ©Jason Florio
L-R Samba Sowe (Alkalo’s brother)- farmer Alkalo Jare Sowe, Felling Koto The Gambia, West Africa ©Jason Florio

The story behind the black backdrop

In The Gambia, as in other regions in West Africa, when approaching a village as a stranger and/or traveler and you are asking something from them – such as shelter for the night – it is customary for you to give a ‘silafando’ (roughly translating as ‘a present on behalf of my journey’) of kola nuts, to the chief, which he then shares with the elders.  Once accepted, you are warmly welcomed into the village and everyone knows that you are there as a guest of the Alkalo. This, in turn, guarantees that you are treated with respect as strangers in the village during your stay. And, if anyone were to disrespect that, then they would have the Alkalo to answer to and the shame that this disrespect brings on the family.

A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush –

930km African Odyssey

We met many Alkalo’s on our 6-week journey as we traversed first the length of South Bank, to the country’s furthest easterly point on the border of Senegal, then crossing the River Gambia (which was to form an integral part of a future expedition) we walked the length of the North Bank, before crossing back over the river on the Barra to Banjul ferry to make our way back to where we began the walk.

On the Barra to Banjul ferry, a very tired Short Walk expedition team: Helen, Momadou, Samba, and Jason (and the donkeys, ‘Neil and Phadley). Photo by expedition team member, Janneh.
Helen films the team leaving Makasutu Culture Forest, where the Short Walk in the Gambian Bush Expedition began. Image © Jason Florio

Read/see more images about the expedition on our dedicated blog: 930kmAfricanOdyssey.

Related: River Gambia – 1044km source-sea African odyssey Expedition

Young men on a float taking a generator to a banana plantation on the River Gambia, Senegal, West Africa © Jason Florio
Image © Jason Florio – young men taking a generator on a raft to a nearby banana plantation, River Gambia, Senegal, West Africa

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Instagram @jasonflorio_photoprints: ‘Sky Over Texas’ – photography prints by Jason Florio | Available from helenjonesflorio.com gallery

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We’ve changed the names of a couple of our Instagram feeds

Instagram @doors.helenjonesflorio #DisappearingMalta #StoriesBehindDoors #GambiaDoors - the beauty in decaying vintage doors and facades
Instagram @doors.helenjonesflorio #DisappearingMalta #StoriesBehindDoors #GambiaDoors (previously @doors_facades_florio)

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Follow us for regular photography updates on Jason Florio’s fine art photography prints and Helen Jones-Florio’s doors and facades from Malta, The Gambia, and beyond…

Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio - wet plate collodion print portrait courtesy of Marcin Andrzejewski
Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio – portrait courtesy of Marcin Andrzejewski

Gender Equality – Secret Home School for Girls, Afghanistan ©Jason Florio

Image ©Jason Florio: Secret Home School for Girls, Afghanistan

At the beginning of the 21st century, our world still didn’t get rid of the different evaluation between the genders. Our campaign’s purpose is to draw attention to this important issue of humanity and bring about the importance of change, with the collaboration of the world’s photo artists. We dedicate this work to UNICEF – Gender Equality 2019

World’s Photo Artists For Gender Equality

“In August 2000 I was smuggled into a house in the suburbs of Herat, Afghanistan – the Taliban were in control of the city and had put strict laws in place banning education for girls – severe punishments were meted out on those who disobeyed them. Inside the house a group of girls sat in rows, each clutching a book as a volunteer teacher conducted the class. But despite the intense danger, the teacher and the girl’s parents knew the girls must have the opportunity for education, whatever the cost.

I often think of this moment –  if these parents and teachers could put their lives on the line to operate a secret home school for girls, then we all must find the courage to speak out whenever and wherever we find  Gender Equality under attack. The work along with other photographers will be exhibited in Budapest, Hungary in August in conjunction with UNICEF.”  Jason Florio 

Related: ‘An Afghan Diary – Talibanistan

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