Excerpted Articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [1]

Article 3:  You have the right to live, and to live in freedom and safety.

Article 7: The law is the same for everyone; it should be applied the same way to all.

Article 23: You have the right to work, to be free to choose your work, and to get a salary that allows you to live and support your family. If a man and a woman do the same work, they should get the same pay. All people who work have the right to join together to defend their interests.

Article 25: You have the right to have whatever you need so that you and your family: do not fall ill; do not go hungry; have clothes and a house; and are helped if you are out of work, if you are ill, if you are old, if your wife or husband is dead, or if you do not earn a living for any other reason you cannot help. Both a mother who is going to have a baby and her baby should get special help. All children have the same rights, whether or not the mother is married.

Article 29: You have duties towards the community within which your personality can fully develop. The law should guarantee human rights. It should allow everyone to respect others and to be respected.


This lesson begins with a class discussion about students’ research on water contamination events in the United States. Then, students will watch the Ron Haviv Photographer’s Statement Video and learn about his perspective on the Ethiopian village of Koraro and how MVP helped them overcome some of their major challenges. Students will reflect on Haviv’s statements that speak to the power of photography to inform people and inspire change.

Essential Questions

● How can a photograph be instrumental in creating awareness?

● Can a photographer be an activist? If so, how?

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

● Recognize the power a photograph can have on an individual or even the world at large

● Analyze quotes from the Ron Haviv Photographer’s Statement Video as a springboard to gain insight on the concept of visual activism

Common Core State Standards






MVP Glossary

Activism: The policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.

Photo caption: Also known as a cutline, a photo caption is a few lines of text used to explain or elaborate on a published photograph. A caption more than a few sentences long is often referred to as a "copy block."

Materials for Instructor

Ron Haviv Photographer’s Statement Video


Materials for Students

● MVP Journals

Ron Haviv Quotes Worksheet (handout or projected)


I. Introduction (8 min.)

Ask students to reflect on the articles they found on water contamination events in the United States.

Step One

Ask students to describe the water contamination event they identified and explain what surprised them about the incident.


Step Two

Ask students if any of the water contamination events in the United States are similar to the water contamination issue in Koraro? If so, in what ways are they similar? In what ways are they different?

Ask students if any of the water contamination events they found in their research were resolved with strategies similar to those used by MVP in Koraro.

II. Ron Haviv Photographer’s Statement Video (8 min.)

Watch Ron Haviv Photographer’s Statement Video.


III. Quick Photographer’s Statement Video Discussion (5 min.)

Ask students if the photographer said anything in particular that caught their attention. Have them popcorn their responses.


IV. Partner Writing Activity (12 min.)

In this activity, students will work together as they analyze and create a written response to selected quotes from the photographer, Ron Haviv.

Step One

Have students break into partners with their MVP journals. Project the quote worksheet on the board or pass out one worksheet to each set of partners.


Step Two

Ask students to choose one quote from the worksheet. Have them write the quote on the top of one of their MVP journal pages and answer the prompt questions together in one reflection.

V. Sharing and Reflection (7 min.)

Ask student pairs to share their reflections.

VI. Homework (5 min.)

Prior to giving the assignment, go to the MVP Glossary Board and define “photo caption.” Then share the homework assignment with students: Cut out or print a photo from a news source you think has the power to inspire change, and write a caption for it.

Extension Activity

Tell students that together they can transform the classroom walls (or wall) into a photo exhibit. Students can tape their cut-out photos with their written captions on the wall(s). The class can then take a gallery walk and reflect on the photos and captions. The class can discuss any images that they feel have the power to inspire change.

[1] Amnesty International USA. “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” (accessed September 28, 2018).