Description

Anshu raises her hand enthusiastically to answer a question in class. Her teacher, Kalpana, is talking to the children about polio, its symptoms and its impact on children, and about what can be done to prevent it. This is not just an ordinary biology lesson, however. Kalpana goes on to explain to the children that they’re going to play an important part in eradicating polio in their own village. She makes them feel important and excited, and with good reason. Soon, they’ll be leading a lively march with the purpose of making parents notice them and hear their message: that they should bring their children to the polio vaccination booth the following day.

Anshu is one of 5,000 ‘child mobilisers’ across the state of Uttar Pradesh, one of India’s most polio-prone regions. By participating in rallies and using their voices to chant slogans about polio prevention as they march through the streets, these schoolchildren have played a key role in helping India to reach a major milestone. In 2014, not long after this photo was taken, the country was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization, having completed three years without a single new case being reported. The CORE Group Polio Project (CGPP) and Project Concern International (PCI), in collaboration with local partners, are the organisations behind this dynamic and effective community-led approach. Between 2007 and 2013, 32,329 rallies were held to coincide with and promote 51 rounds of polio vaccinations, the dates of which were announced on the banners the children carried.

Funded by USAID through World Vision, this successful partnership succeeded in raising polio immunisation coverage among children under the age of five to a remarkable 99%. Anshu’s vibrant portrait was published in a coffee table book among a total of 100 stunning and compelling images. The book, Eradicating Polio, tells the story of CORE-PCI’s incredible efforts to make polio history. Robin not only documented the project visually, he also carried out more than 70 interviews with beneficiaries and stakeholders across the breadth of the project’s field sites. His understanding of ethical interview techniques and strong interpersonal skills enabled him to gain people’s trust and capture their stories in their own words to complement his images.

Details

Title
Working with children to eradicate polio

Themes
Public health, children, education

Client
Project Concern International (PCI)

Location
Meerut District, Uttar Pradesh, India

Camera settings
185mm, ISO 1000, 1/100, f/3.2

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