In 2008, Dutch filmmaker Renzo Martens released the controversial documentary Enjoy Poverty focusing on the artificiality of the humanitarian aid and the ego trip it provided to the "White Saviours" of the West. Instead of being exploited by the Western gaze, Martens wanted to make the inhabitants of these marginalized societies benefit from their suffering as - according to him - "it was their greatest resource" in the "post"-colonial African landscape. He put together photography workshops where the villagers could produce images of their home in an authentic way that wasn't twisted and manipulated by Western perception.

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In the photos of the villagers, you could see the unseen. Gone were the mutilated bodies and starving children seen in the cover of Newsweek. These images of horror and tragedy were replaced by smiling families, children playing, pictures of mothers and fathers. But that's not what sells is it? It is the artificial 'Otherness' of Africa that makes us feel better about our existence.

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Seven years later, this DIY spirit is reborn in a more articulated way through Zinester - a Kenya based project with a goal to teach the marginalized people make and publish DIY zines. In the beginning, the founder of the project Harrison Thane and his parter Tom Grass led series of workshops on zine making. The participants were provided with magazines that were torn apart and the visual narrative was retold through the eyes of these young zine makers. Thane and Grass' workshop introduced the children of Kibera - the largest slum in Africa - to the wonders of photographic reportage, feature writing and interview techniques. By learning to use a camera and to conduct an interview, the participants of the first workshop series became the first Zinester generation of urban and rural storytellers.

Based in a country that has been ranked 147th in the Gender Inequality Index, the project was founded to pick up the slack that NGOs have left behind. Development organizations often complain about not being able to hear out the voices of the marginalized groups of women and children. "In extreme cases girls' rights to education are barely encouraged so there is limited scope for their ever acquiring the skills necessary to become active and vocal citizens", states the project's Kickstarter page. For £15 you get a copy of the zine delivered to your door. Through the continuation of their project, they wish to generate social impact through the generation of individual narratives.

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These are not stories of suffering but individual glimpses of the life in societies outside the digital sphere. Written and photographed by the Zinesters of Kenya, these DIY masterpieces teach us about the life within the society. Maybe you want to read more about the crazy subcultures found within these societies or maybe educate yourself about who might be the best dancer in the village. These kids provide stories that are far from the clichéd stories seen in the pamphlets of humanitarian aid organizations. Instead, the zines are self-reflexive studies of reality.

Right now, the project wants to expand from Kibera to the matriarchal village of Umoja in North Kenya where the ostracised female victims of gender based violence or young runaways of forced marriages have found their sanctuary. Zinester wants to share their story via DIY zines and posters, thus empowering the fellow victims of violence against women.

Find out more about Zinester or purchase a zine HERE.