Humanitarian Photography Program in Malawi, South Africa & Zambia


Use your photography skills for a good cause during this humanitarian photography project in Cape Town, Livingstone, or Nkhata Bay! It’s an exciting opportunity to learn new skills, document the work of grassroots charities, and enjoy spending time in one of these stunning places.

You’ll start your program with a one-week workshop by humanitarian photographer Anna Lusty. This workshop will teach you all you need to know about nonprofit photography in an African context. From the second week, you’ll take on one-week photography assignments at nonprofit organizations, and document their work. The projects you’re photographing could, for instance, be focused on education, early childhood development, female empowerment, sports education, food security, or animal welfare. After each week, you’ll have the opportunity to review your project with Anna, and to prepare for the next. Weekends are time off, and a chance to explore your wonderful surroundings in either Malawi, South Africa, or Zambia. You can join this photography volunteer program for 2 to 4 weeks, and there are regular start dates.


As a photographer on this humanitarian photography program, you’ll be part of Penda Trust, a nonprofit organisation that uses photography as a tool to drive positive change. Based in Cape Town, Penda Trust offers free photography to grassroots nonprofits, so that they have the right visual tools for their communication and fundraising programs. These images are donated to the nonprofits, and they are regularly used for exhibitions or online campaigns to help raise awareness for their causes. The nonprofits Penda Trust supports have a wide range of focus areas; from environmental and animal welfare, to social development and female empowerment.


What you’ll do

This humanitarian photography project will kick off with a one-week workshop by humanitarian photographer Anna Lusty. She’ll teach you all about nonprofit photography; how to approach it in the most effective way, how to document the essence of a cause, and how to be culturally sensitive in an African context. The workshop will be partly theoretical, and partly practical; Anna will take you to a number of nearby charities so that you can start photographing and put any new skills into practice. It will also give you a good sense of cultural nuances, and an understanding of the issues that the communities are facing.

You’ll have the weekend to relax or explore your surroundings, and from week two, you’ll embark on individual photography assignments. Each week, we’ll pair you with a nonprofit organization that’s doing important work, and that could benefit from having some quality photography. You’ll have time to learn about the organization’s mission, get a good feel for its projects, and document it as you go along. You’ll be working in a small group of 2 or 3 photographers, and you’ll spend about half of your time photographing, and the other half on editing your work.

After each week, Anna will sit down with you to assess your project, review your work, and prepare you for the next assignment.

  • To qualify for this humanitarian photography program, you need to have basic photography skills to join this program. (You don’t have to be a seasoned pro, but you do need to have a good camera, decent technical skills, and some experience.) We will adapt your projects to your photography level.
  • An ability to work fairly independently.
  • A passion for using photography as a tool for positive change.
  • Bring your own DSLR or mirror-less camera. Nice to have: range of lenses (but not a must).


Cape Town, South Africa:
You’ll stay at the Lenox, a comfortable guest house in the heart of Cape Town. Built in the old Cape Dutch style, the Lenox is characterful and spacious. It has a large dining room, several other communal spaces, shared bedrooms, and there are single rooms available as well (at an extra fee). You’ll be walking distance from a wide range of shops, cafes and restaurants, and at a great spot for some of the touristy highlights Cape Town has to offer as well. (As well as for views of Table Mountain!)

Livingstone, Zambia: 
You’ll stay at a comfortable lodge in the heart of Livingstone. We can offer you dorm or single rooms, and you’ll have use of a great number of facilities, including common areas, a bar, and a large pool. You’ll be walking distance to shops and restaurants, and a short drive to the Zambezi River and the Victoria Falls. You can opt for a shared or single room, depending on your budget.

Nkhata Bay, Malawi: 
We’ll be based at Butterfly Space, an eco-lodge on the shores of Lake Malawi. The lodge has its own private beach, a bar and restaurant, and various common areas. You’ll stay in comfortable en-suite lodges, all with plenty of spaces and gorgeous views. We’ll be working in the surrounding communications.


You’ll arrive on a Sunday, to start your workshop on the Monday. You can join us for 2 to 4 weeks.

Start dates
Cape Town: Oct 16, 2023
Malawi: May 19, 2024
Livingstone: TBC (July / August 2024)


Cape Town
2 weeks USD 2,150
3 weeks USD 2,700
4 weeks USD 3,255

2 weeks USD 2,750
3 weeks USD 3,200
4 weeks USD 3,750

Nkhata Bay
2 weeks USD 2,950
3 weeks USD 3,550
4 weeks USD 4,150

  • Accommodation 
  • Meals (the amount of meals a day that are included varies per location) 
  • Airport transfers
  • Workshops and mentorship by Anna Lusty
  • Assistance with your visa arrangement & other preparations
  • On the ground support during your stay
  • A discount on weekend activities, exclusive to Roots interns
  • Airport transfers to your accommodation and back on arrival and departure day
  • All transport as per your program itinerary
  • Flights
  • Visa, medical and travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
  • Lunch, drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing)
  • Meals during the weekend
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities
South Africa / Zambia / Malawi
Photography NGO
Humanitarian photography
2-4 Weeks
From USD 2150

At first I didn't know what to expect so I just convinced myself that it will be all work and no fun, but secretly I had hoped that it will be an adventure of learning and experiences. Which in the end it was more than I could have imagined. It has opened my eyes and mind to a whole new photography direction, as well as social skills with people and organizations It is something unexplainable, that has to be experienced to understand. As well as the support and communication from Roots really calmed my nerves.

Loume, South AfricaHumanitarian Photography Program

I think this program will really help my photography career, and the whole experience has also made me step out of my comfort zone and has helped me become a new person. It definitely surpassed my expectations because I thought it was just going to be a quick little class and a few days out in the field but it was so much more than that. Every day we were shooting somewhere new and learning something. Meeting new people everyday and just having the most fun ever.

Maxx, USAHumanitarian Photography Program
  • Learn how to approach nonprofit photography, and about the role visual media can play in the nonprofit sector
  • Document the work of nonprofit organisations doing important work in areas such as poverty relief, education, skill development, gender equality, and animal welfare
  • Build a unique and extensive portfolio of images
  • Make an impact by donating a selection of your images to each organisation, so that they can use them to raise awareness (and funds) for their cause
  • Spend time in Cape Town, Livingstone, or Nkhata Bay, all stunning destinations for different reasons
  • Enjoy exploring your stunning African surroundings in your time off
CAPE TOWN (2023):
2 weeks: USD 2,150
3 weeks: USD 2,700
4 weeks: USD 3,250
2 weeks: USD 2,750
3 weeks: USD 3,200
4 weeks: USD 3,750

See Detailed Rates

Other opportunities with this organization


If you’re ready to apply for this photography program or internship, here’s what to do:


Fill in the application form (it will show in a new screen) which includes sharing your CV and portfolio with us.


We will review your application and discuss it with the supervisor and/or program manager. An interview might be part of the selection process


If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you  all the information you need.


We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit. Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.

Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this program or internship first, just fill in the contact form below. We’ll be happy to assist!


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