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Stunning image wins international photography contest

PUBLISHED: 15:12 22 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:45 22 November 2019

Young Lowestoft volunteer James Boosey has won an international ICS photography competition with this award-winning photo. Picture: James Boosey

Young Lowestoft volunteer James Boosey has won an international ICS photography competition with this award-winning photo. Picture: James Boosey

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A Lowestoft man, who spent three months working on a sexual health project in an African village, has won a prestigious photography contest.

James Boosey travelled to Kenya in June this year via the government funded International Citizen Service programme. Picture: Contributed by ICSJames Boosey travelled to Kenya in June this year via the government funded International Citizen Service programme. Picture: Contributed by ICS

James Boosey, 24, spent 12 weeks in Kenya earlier this year volunteering on a sexual health and reproductive rights project with international development organisation Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).

During his time in Kenya he worked on a sustainable development project and tackled period stigma. And now he has now been honoured with a prize as part of the annual International Citizen Service (ICS) photography awards, for a photo he took while he was in Kenya.

As part of the programme, Mr Boosey lived with a host family, was embedded in the community and ushered around the village by 80-year-old man called Edward.

Every year the International Citizen Service (ICS) brings together young people to volunteer in developing countries in Africa and Asia.

Winning the award in the Environment and Community category, Mr Boosey's stunning image captured members of the Loitokitok community in Kenya as they took part in 'Colourfest' - a brightly-coloured, messy celebration of International Youth Day in August this year.

Thrilled to have won, he said: "I'm really shocked to have won the prize.

"It's come as quite a surprise. I'm glad I'm able to spread the importance of empowering youth, which this photo shows, and that this message will continue to be spread with this photo at the Volunteer Awards and also go on tour next year."

Explaining the challenges that young people, and especially young girls and women, faced in the community, he said: "These included period poverty and early pregnancy. Many young girls do not go to school when they start their period as they cannot afford sanitary products.

"To overcome this, we launched a campaign to purchase reusable menstrual cups to provide to girls in the community, with one of the volunteers successfully raising £3000 to buy 300 of the cups.

"The girls were then trained on how to use them by volunteers and trusted members of the community."

Felicity Morgan, director of ICS at VSO, said: "James' photo gives a snapshot of the great work being done and lifelong relationships made, and we're proud to celebrate their talent as photographers and the impact achieved through their placement."

Since returning to the UK, he has been volunteering for local organisations while searching for a job to start his career in the charity sector.

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