2014 IBM “World is Our Lab” photo competition for African Photographers.

Application Deadline: 31 January, 2014.

IBM in collaboration with  iHubA24Media and independent photographer Mutua Matheka hereby invites applications for “The World is Our Lab” photo competition.

Aimed at photographers of all abilities, the contest aims to capture Africa through its numerous challenges and opportunities through your lenses. Whether you use a camera phone or professional camera, capture and render original images that best define one or more of the following three categories:

1. African Grand Challenges

What are the grand challenges that need to be addressed for Africa to realize its potential? Is it improved access to food and drinkable water? Health services in places where there are less than one doctor for over 1,000 people? Is it more universal access to electricity in cities which current only reaches 20% of the population? Is it transport in cities where travelling two kilometers can currently take over an hour on the roads? Or is it the ability to hold governments accountable and track their progress?

Share the images that best illustrate your country’s biggest challenges, focus areas and opportunities for transformation.

African City Systems

What systems do African cities depend on? Infrastructure like roads, buildings and bridges? Organizations and systems that manage a city’s transportation, healthcare, security, government, water, energy services? The systems we use to live and communicate – such as telephones, internet and social media? Or is it the places in a city where people and communities come together – such as markets, bus stations, town squares and sports stadiums? What makes a city smart?

Capture images that define how a city lives and breathes.

African Innovation

What are the solutions that people are putting in place across Africa to overcome the challenges of daily life and create new opportunities? New technologies applied to address perennial problems such as solar panels and wind turbines or old technologies given a new lease of life like radio used to deliver education in remote regions? The creative ways individuals or communities live, communicate and trade such as mobile money transfer systems, information systems and applications? Or is it the low-tech but effective homemade devices such as seed planters, paraffin lamps and shoes made from recycled materials? Do the people and solutions of Africa’s new hi-tech sector signify innovation?

Capture images that define Africa’s innovative and creative spirit.


  • Participants must have the ownership rights to the entries they submit and warrant by submission that they hold these rights.
  • While the competition is open to IBM employees and contractors, they will not be eligible for prizes.
  • To be eligible for prizes, participants must reside in Africa, have a valid passport and be available to travel to Nairobi, Kenya for 8 days before February 28th 2014.

How can you take part?

  • Participants should capture or render original images that best define one or more of the competition categories.
  • Participants should upload jpg images (photographs or scans) in at least 330 DPI resolution via the
  • All entries must be received by Friday 31 January, 2014 (no entries accepted after this date).
  • Entries will be judged by a panel of experts from IBM, A24 Media, iHub and independent photographer Mutua Matheka.
  • The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • Winners will be notified by phone or email.
  • The three winners will receive a Lenovo T440 laptop with photo editing software and an all-expense-paid trip to Nairobi, Kenya (from any African capital city) where they will visit IBM’s new research lab, receive a personal tour of iHub’s amazing Innovation Hub and benefit from a photography workshop with one of Africa’s most exciting young photographers Mutua Matheka.
  • In the event that a resident of Kenya is a top entry then they will receive a 3-day trip for two people to the beautifulHemingways Hotel Watamu instead of the trip to Nairobi.
  • By participating in the competition, participants agree for their entries to be reproduced, displayed and printed by IBM and its partners in ‘The World is Our Lab’ project.
  • IBM reserves the right to remove any inappropriate or irrelevant photos from the ‘The World is Our Lab’ website.


  • The winners of each category will be selected to receive the grand prizes for each category which include:
  • 1 Lenovo T440 laptop with photo-editing software.
  • A 3 day trip to Nairobi from any African capital city with full-board accommodation at the stunningHemmingways Nairobi. Trip to include economy-class return flight to Nairobi, full-board accommodation for 3 nights and ground transportation in Nairobi.
  • In the event that a resident of Kenya is a top entry then they will receive a 3-day trip for two people to the beautiful Hemingways Hotel Watamu instead of the trip to Nairobi.
  • IBM will provide any necessary written invitations for the winners to apply for a visa to enter Kenya.
  • Winners to make any necessary visa applications in their own time and at their own expense.
  • No alternative cash prizes are available.
  • Winners selected to travel to Nairobi will act as IBM photographer for the day should agree to provide IBM, free of any additional charge, a selection of at least 50 images documenting IBM Research – Africa. The photographers agree to pass the ownership rights of these photos to IBM in exchange for the competition prizes.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the World is Our Lab Photo Competition


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