World Press Photo 2020


My work on « The Gouandé gazelles » was awarded the 2nd prize in category « Sport Stories » World Press Photo 2020 for the series on female football in Benin. This work is part of the WTFoot – The Project in collaboration with  collectif Huma and Plan International. I thank all the people who accompanied me during this great adventure and special Laure Derenne for the texts.
Belasse Tchari got up every morning of his life to work in his field, feed his 7 children and buy enough money to wash their uniforms. In the remote village of Gouande, she has done everything she can so that Virginie and her two sisters can go to secondary school like their brothers. A goal that she had to achieve alone since her husband did not want to hear about it. She is also among the first mothers to have encouraged her daughter in her desire to play football, a project supported by Plan International Benin. « Many people have asked me how I could let her play when it’s a boys’ sport, but I never wanted to stop Virginie from doing something for her own development. How can I not be happy today? My daughter takes care of her health, develops a lot of knowledge and has friends all over Benin. Benin, Atacora, Gouande, Benin, Atacora, Gouande, 21 February 2019 In two years, the footballers from the village of Gouande, in northern Benin, have made their mark and blazed new trails. Refusing to be confined to the status of women who are fragile, incompetent or solely dedicated to motherhood, they have come together to defend their place on all the fields. © OLIVIER PAPEGNIES

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