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Building on achievement: Canon celebrates African sustainability

Building on achievement: Canon celebrates African sustainability

© Ademola Ajayi

December 2016

In just two years, Canon has trained over 2,500 local imaging professionals in Africa in an effort to promote job opportunities in the continent. CPN reports...

Canon’s sustainability programme in Africa is called ‘Miraisha’, a word coined from two sides of the world – ‘Mirai’, the Japanese word for ‘future’, and ‘Maisha’ the Swahili word for livelihood. It’s a fitting adjective for a philosophy of future business success, and Canon has put itself right at the heart of Africa’s emerging imaging economy.

Through a series of storytelling workshops and street photography classes – most recently at the LagosPhoto Festival with Canon Master Gary Knight – to filmmaking workshops and print training for SMEs, Canon teams from Europe and Central and North Africa have brought together teams of experts to train and sustain.

Stuart Poore, Canon Europe’s Director of Sustainability, commented: “The Miraisha programme truly embodies our corporate philosophy of Kyosei: living and working together for the common good. In just two years, it has already achieved impressive results and had a major impact on the lives and businesses of participants – more than 140 photographers have received work with a paid commission and more than 20 have received awards and recognition for their work. Print shop owners have also benefited; for example, one has won a contract from a large African bank, citing the training from Canon being a winning factor for them. We are absolutely dedicated to the Miraisha programme and look forward to carrying out many more seminars, workshops, training and mentorships in the future.”

Expert training

Continuing his association with Africa, Canon Master Gary Knight teamed up with local photographers at the LagosPhoto Festival to once again lead a workshop aimed at developing storytelling skills. Gary Knight has previously run a number of workshops in Kenya and Nigeria, to not only train, teach and mentor, but build and bring together a community of photographers in Africa. Among the 57 participants who have taken part in the workshops, many have had stories published in magazines and newspapers including, Vogue Italia online and The Standard (Kenya). One student won the Discovery Award at the Recontres d’Arles 2016 for her project, ‘Stranger in a Familiar Land’.

© Canon Europe
© Canon Europe

Canon Master Gary Knight (centre) gave a workshop at the LagosPhoto Festival, teaching photographers how to develop their storytelling skills.

Providing solid advice to the print business, Canon teamed up with local business partner, MFI Ghana, and not-for-profit organisation, Invest in Africa, to deliver training to 22 local Professional Printers in the Accra region. The training focused on improving the entrepreneurial, business management and technical skills of employees, helping local SMEs meet the print demands of multinational companies active in Ghana, who may otherwise have looked outside of the area.

Finally, filmmaking was also championed with Canon and the National Film and TV Institute, Ghana (NAFTI), agreeing to a three-year partnership, with the goal of creating new and rewarding careers for creative young professionals. Isaac Yeboath, a student who took part in a recent workshop said, “It pays to stay abreast with leading standards and champions, especially in a fast changing field such as photography – this workshop was perfect for just that!”