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Spotlight: Winner gives a voice to unheard communities

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Yanjun Cai

“Climate issues are social and political. Without addressing the unjust dynamics, and without giving voice to the unheard, even the most advanced technology would not be a good solution.”

As a student at the University of Hawaii Manoa, Yanjun Cai started a project she calls Visible Voice, which she had been cultivating as a part of her dissertation research project.

Visible Voice focuses on establishing a creative collaborative disaster governance through photographs and social media networks.  This form of participatory photography can reveal under-heard and unrecognized vulnerability in the Philippines, and help increase the islands’ adaptation capacity.

“This project is the first participatory photography exploration to collect new ethnographic data, empower marginalized women leaders, and generate innovative disaster adaption and governance in Asia-Pacific Region,” Cai said.

She discovered the Climate CoLab through a random search online. “I found the opportunity to share Visible Voice and promote a creative climate solution [on the Climate CoLab] so exciting that I joined the community,” Cai said. “The process of preparing the proposal for the Climate Colab encouraged me to relate my project to the general public through structural framing and concise language.”

“Every comment people posted and every vote they cast manifest their solid support for transforming the climate vulnerability discourse, along with us. That was the best thing. It is inspiring and amazing to get to know how diverse climate solutions can be.”


Her proposal, Photovoice for Vulnerability: Disaster Adaptation in Central Philippines, won the Popular Choice Award in the 2012-2013 Enabling Adaptation contest.  You can contact Yanjun Cai through the Climate CoLab: her user name is resiliart.