<p>Samira (16) looks out onto Qolodo camp near Gode in the Somali Region, Ethiopia. Her family owned 45 goats and 10 camels, all of which died during recent droughts.</p>
2023 Photo Contest, Africa, Honorable Mention

The Nomad’s Final Journey


Jonathan Fontaine

Hans Lucas
16 May, 2022

Samira (16) looks out onto Qolodo camp near Gode in the Somali Region, Ethiopia. Her family owned 45 goats and 10 camels, all of which died during recent droughts.

The nomadic peoples of Ethiopia and Somalia depend on their livestock, migrating across their territory to pasture their animals. Recently, devastating droughts have pushed many nomadic families to the brink. Exacerbated by the climate crisis, the ongoing drought in Ethiopia is entering its sixth failed rain season, the worst in decades. Without water, there is no viable land for pasture. Millions of livestock living in the arid regions of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya have died in recent years, forcing many to abandon pastoralism and move to villages, cities and camps for internally displaced people. According to the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG), between 23 and 26 million people need emergency food assistance across Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.

With many families forced to abandon nomadism and seek aid in climate refugee camps, social structures are weakening, which leads to an array of mental health crises as well as increasing violence against women. Women in nomadic families are often responsible for finding water, and with water resources becoming more scarce, it is women who must bear the great physical and mental toll exacted by the ongoing crisis. 

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Jonathan Fontaine
About the photographer

Jonathan Fontaine is a freelance documentary photographer who has traveled extensively for the last ten years across Asia, Africa and South America. His work focuses on the social and humanitarian consequences of globalization, climate change, deforestation and the many ecological crises that affect the lives of commun...

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Technical information
Shutter Speed


Focal length



F. 10




Fujifilm X-T3

Jury comment

The jury chose to award an honorable mention to this image to recognize its powerful storytelling and the subversion of harmful tropes that have traditionally depicted the impacts of drought in Africa. The jury was impressed by the striking composition and color which guides the viewer's eyes through a haunting story about the politics of identity in a disappearing landscape– from the striking red silhouette to the multi-tonal pattern of tents in the distance. The image allows for dignity and self representation and marks a positive evolution in the kinds of visuals that represent the region.