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Winrock International

Winrock International announces 2023 staff photo contest winners

The most exceptional entries in the Landscape, Portrait, Action Shot, and Caption categories.


At Winrock, we believe in the power of a well-told story. Throughout human history, storytelling has been our best tool for relating, remembering, teaching, influencing and connecting. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth 1,000 words. This was the origin of the 2023 Winrock photo contest. Entries could focus on any aspect of our work.  We were looking for striking, thought-provoking images that convey our mission and illustrate the impact of our programs. The contest was open to all Winrock staff, and we encouraged colleagues worldwide to submit their images. 

The response was overwhelming, reflecting our global team’s dedication to sharing the impacts they witnessed. The submissions did more than visually depict a scene; they narrated the stories of communities, environments and initiatives at the heart of Winrock’s mission.

Our panel of judges (a volunteer photojournalist, members of Winrock’s communications team, and Joyjit Deb Roy, acting president and CEO of Winrock) evaluated the submissions. Together, they identified the most exceptional entries across four categories: Landscape, Portrait, Action Shot, and Caption. All entries were visually engaging and impressive, which made the judges’ task of selecting the finalists challenging! We extend a heartfelt thanks to all participants for their role in furthering Winrock’s mission and enhancing global awareness of our efforts to improve lives worldwide. 

The Best Overall Entry will receive special recognition by being featured prominently in Winrock’s 2024 Annual Report; Winrock’s social media platforms will feature other winning entries throughout the year.

Ultimately, this contest was not just about finding the most visually appealing photographs. It was about finding those stories that best encapsulated the spirit of Winrock — images that could speak a thousand words about who we are, what we do and our impact on the world. 

Best Overall Entry: Photo by Arpona Ghosh For Winrock International

Visual Theme: Human Rights 

USAID Esho Shikhi: Empowering Over 30,000 government primary school teachers in Bangladesh. This initiative is revolutionizing Bangla literacy education, enhancing teaching methodologies to improve student learning outcomes. By bridging gaps in traditional teaching practices, Esho Shikhi is paving the way for a brighter, more literate future for countless young minds. Photo by Arpona Ghosh For Winrock International

Best Caption – Photo by Sumon Francis Gomes for Winrock International

Visual Themes: Women’s Empowerment, Entrepreneurship

Sumana’s Empowering Tale: Breaking Chains and Building Dreams. A child marriage survivor, Sumana (seen teaching) reshaped her destiny into a remarkable IT entrepreneur. Sumana leads educational training outside her animation production house. USAID’s FSTIP project graphic design training helped her launch animated Bangla cartoons for children, offering jobs to eight young people. Beyond her entrepreneurial success, Sumana is pivotal in altering community views on child marriage, symbolizing hope and strength. Photo by Sumon Francis Gomes for Winrock International

Best Landscape – Photo by Thao Le Thu for Winrock International

Visual Themes: Climate Change and the Environment 

West Lake, Hanoi: Once a Breathtaking View, now a Glimpse of Change. Near Winrock International’s office, this lake, altered for homes and roads, mirrors the challenges of urbanization and air pollution. As the sun sets, slightly blurred by the haze, I ponder the future of this sight. With efforts like USAID’s Reducing Pollution project, employing CLA and the Maturity tool, there’s hope for a revived perspective and a cleaner tomorrow. Photo by Thao Le Thu for Winrock International

Best Action Shot: Photo by Irene Ofosu-Ennin For Winrock International 

Visual Themes: Climate Change and the Environment, Research and Innovation — such as new and digital technologies — In Action

U.S. Department of Labor MATE MASIE’s Pursuit of Excellence: M&E Officer and Offinso Fine Flavour Cocoa Cooperative Manager meticulously measuring the water content of fine flavour cocoa beans. This crucial step guarantees that the beans meet the exacting standards of their partners, ensuring top quality in every batch. Photo by Irene Ofosu-Ennin For Winrock International 

Best Portrait: Photo by Arpona Ghosh For Winrock International

Visual Themes: Human Rights 

Empowering Resilience in Education: USAID’s Esho Shikhi project brings together head teachers and local education officials for a vital mission. They collaborate to develop robust school contingency plans, actively involving School Management Committees, parents and communities. This initiative ensures uninterrupted learning during disasters and emergencies, fostering a strong, adaptable educational framework for the future. Best Portrait: Photo by Arpona Ghosh For Winrock International

*Note: informed consent was obtained by Winrock project staff for the publication of each of the images.

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