Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism have a long history in Africa, but it was in the 1980s and 1990s that they started to grow rapidly, often pushed by churches in the United States. While churches in the economic north are emptying out those in the Global South – and especially Africa – are growing.

In Ghana, for example, Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches grew at a 4% rate each per year from 2010 till 2015, and this is one of the country, due also to its stability and its Christian majority, where churches are growing faster.

Travelling through the country it is possible to understand the importance of these churches: every meter it is possible to find some advertisments, and count hundreds of them in less than an hour.

Churches are shaping the landscape and the Ghanian society, and contributing, in different ways, to shape the policies of this African country: for example the fires of homophobia in Africa are fanned by the rhetoric of religious fundamentalists.

African church leaders are powerful. Their teachings have a wide reach that is not limited to Sunday mornings and mid-week services. There are TV channels, radio stations, international branches that reach a wide audience beyond their own congregations. Many of the churches are one man church, they don’t pay taxes on what they earn with offers, miracles, healings, tithe, etc …
Pastors, prophets and apostles have become some of the richest and more powerful people both in Ghana and in other countries such as Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, controlling, also, thousands of votes.

The promise of wealth and good health has filled their coffers with money from some of the world’s poorest faithful. Pastors promise to poor people to heal them from cancer and infertility, to bless them with eternal fortune, to make them rich.

In Ghana religion and spirituality are everywhere, deeply radicated in the society.

But religion can easily turn in a proper business.

Prophets and Profits wants to visually investigate the impact and the contraddictions of these booming churches in the Ghanian society.

This project was possible thanks to a grant by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting 

 

24 June 2017

Anti-Russian sentiments, combined with the fear of a Russian invasion, are growing in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. This is contributing to the increase in military expenses and a military presence on the ground, both national and international.

Since Russia’s annexation of the Crimea three years ago and the ensuing conflict in eastern Ukraine, the Riflemen’s Union, a Lithuanian paramilitary group born almost a century ago, has seen a sharp rise in membership. The group, which boasts more than 10,000 members, only four years ago had around 6,000 members. The same is happening in Latvia where the National Guard now counts more than 8,000 members, and has doubled the regular army, and in Estonia where the Estonian Defence League membership is rapidly growing. These groups organize several drills and training sessions each month, during which hundreds of people gather in fields and woods to practice military tactics and use of weapons. One of the main objectives is to forge a the patriotic spirit. Also in the younger generations.

With nearly half the Riflemen’s Union members under the age of 18, the Union’s free summer youth camps familiarize also thousands of Lithuania’s youth with military values, tactics, weapons and patriotism, and the same happens with the Latvian Youth Guards and the Estonian Young Eagles groups, where youngsters under 17 are taught how to use weapons (mainly soft air guns) properly, as well as military tactics and patriotic lessons.

All this with one main objective: raise a new generation of patriots.

Differently to other European militias, especially in Eastern Europe, the Baltic paramilitary groups are composed of different kinds of people with different backgrounds, linked by the common fear of Russia and a rising Nationalism that is spreading among the societies and in the younger generations.

Costas the hunter, Rimalda the religion teacher, Aurimas the patriot biker, Edmundas the student, Janis the council manager, Arvidas the 14 years old kid, Davis the mechanic, Andrei the border guard, are all training to defend their country and are ready to take up weapons to do so.

 

6 November 2016

After an average life of thirty years at sea, large commercial vessels – bulkers and general cargo ships, container ships, oil and gas tankers, and passenger ships such as cruise ships and ferries – are sold to shipbreaking yards for demolition in order to recover steel and other valuable materials. Every year about 1,000 ocean-going vessels are dismantled, and the vast majority (about 95%) end up in India, Bangladesh, China, Turkey and Pakistan. Sixty to seventy percent of the ships scrapped each year go to Alang, in India, and Chittagong, in Bangladesh where they simply run ashore on tidal beaches where unscrupulous shipbreaking companies exploit minimal enforcement of environmental and safety rules to maximize profits.

Emissions of toxic substances contained in the bilge and ballast waters of ships and the improper disposal of hazardous wastes and materials contribute to the risk of environmental damage. Environmental damage includes soil contamination, soil erosion, water pollution, contamination of coastal regions and subsequent biodiversity loss such as the destruction of vast areas of mangroves, air pollution, and threats to plant and animal health. Such damage is a serious problem because it can deplete important natural resources, disrupt the stability of larger ecosystems, and threaten human health and the livelihoods of farmers and fishers in surrounding villages

 

 

 

They live hidden in small, dark, tin huts in the slums in the outskirts of Kampala. They protect one another, they share everything: from the mattresses lying on the floor to the little food they can afford. Kicked out by their families and from school, rejected by their friends and fired from their jobs. They live in fear, beaten, robbed, and raped. They are the Transgender community of Kampala, a community made up of young, very young people, often minors, forced to prostitute themselves because, in one of the most homophobic countries in the world, there are no chances for them: no present, no future.

Marginalized even from the gay community that has been attacked for years by President Museveni, laughed at in the streets, forced to hide their real identity, pretending they are not what they really are. Ekifiire, being Trans in Kampala” is a journey into the transgender community of Kampala, a journey that wants to try and explain this harsh reality through the stories and the dreams of youngsters forced to hide themselves and their identity. It is this identity that these photographs want to investigate.

Forced to look “normal” when outside of their homes, to be accepted in their society and avoid the risk of being lynched, it is only inside their small apartments that Alicia, Noel, Clara, and the others, can really be themselves.