Tad Philipp is a member of Photographers Without Borders, a nonprofit that connects photographers with grassroots organizations working on important global development issues. He has completed two assignments, and descriptions of each NGO and photographs of their activities are in the sections below.
In March 2020 Tad completed an assignment documenting the work of EmpowerMen, a NGO based in Antananarivo, Madagascar that is working to achieve gender equality.
While gender discrimination in Madagascar is legally forbidden, it is rife on an everyday basis given that Malagasy society remains highly patriarchal. Founded in 2018 by a group of young Malagasy leaders to empower women and girls, EmpowerMen conducts training on positive masculinity, gender equality and gender based violence.
A key pillar of EmpowerMen's strategy is engaging boys and men in the quest by helping them to distinguish between toxic masculinity, which is using power to dominate, and positive masculinity, which is using power to empower.
The EmpowerMen trainers often work with youth to impart their messages before some of the negative stereotypes perpetuated by society have had the opportunity to harden. Their dynamic programs keep audiences engaged with role playing and presentations that are both entertaining and thought provoking.
In December 2019 Tad completed an assignment documenting the work of WomenWeave, a NGO based in Maheshwar, India that creates employment for hundreds of women.
WomenWeave was founded in 2003 with the goal of providing sustainable work for marginalized local women, many of whom are the sole breadwinner in their family. WomenWeave's fair wages, together with their safe and hygienic working conditions, provide both monetary and psychological support systems.
All of WomenWeave's fabrics are hand made with designs inspired by local weaving tradition. The feel and easy to wear quality of their fabric keeps it in demand and able to resist mechanization and the resulting loss of employment.
Spinning and weaving have long had an important role in India's culture. WomenWeave operates a handloom school in Maheshwar that helps cultivate the next generation of designers, weavers and weaving entrepreneurs.
During March and April of 2020 WomenWeave used dozens of Tad's images in a Covid-related fund raising campaign to help support their weavers since production had been shut down. Photographers Without Borders also used his images as part of their fund raising campaign on behalf of WomenWeave and to publish them in their online magazine.