Delafosse Charles-Henry | Women Entrepreneurs of Ivory Coast

Delafosse Charles-Henry is a 24 year-old documentary photographer from Côte d’Ivoire. Born to a Franco-Ivorian father and a Cameroonian mother, Charles-Henry spent most of his childhood in Ivory Coast before moving to his mother’s homeland. He decided to settle in Côte d’Ivoire where he obtained a degree in visual communication. 

Seeing photography as the language of the soul, Charles-Henry’s career in photography is marked by a desire to immortalise scenes of the mundaneness of everyday life; but above all by a desire to dive into the heart of the lives of the people he captures in his images.

Women Entrepreneurs of Ivory Coast is a photo-documentary insight into the lives of women in Côte d’Ivoire. An example of what life is like in a bustling city in West Africa, Charles-Henry gives us a glimpse into the joys, struggles and pursuits women face on a daily basis on the great continent of Africa.

View the series below:

Rachel, 30, began producing attiéké (cassava-based Ivorian dishes) at the age of 16 alongside her mother. Upon her mother’s death, she totally devoted herself to this activity which brought her an average of 40,000 FCFA per week. However, the activity required multiple physical and regular efforts, which had an impact on her health. She put an end to it and went into the services of housewives.

Blockhauss, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 2019.

For 20 years, Jeanne has been preparing attiéké in Kodimasso, a village near Tiassalé, for sale on the markets of neighbouring towns. To supplement her income, she decided to sell tangerines in addition to attiéké. Mother of 11 children, 3 of whom died, she fights mainly for them.

Sahuye, Côte d’Ivoire, 2019.

A 20-year-old orphan, Amy, began selling various products following the death of her parents 10 years ago. Originally from a village near Agboville in Ivory Coast, she is fighting today to live and feed her child.

Adjame, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 2019.

On May 8, 2018, Aminata saw several homes including hers destroyed by trucks belonging to the Ivorian Company Construction and Property Management (ICCPM) Cocody Danga district in Abidjan. Aminata was not only a resident of the neighborhood but also an active marketer of cigarettes and liqueurs.

A mother of a daughter who died at the age of 23 during her second birth, she is now a woman who must both ensure the well-being and education of her two grandchildren and moreover to support her business despite the dwindling clientele and the disease she continues to struggle against.

With a daily salary ranging from 4,500 to 6,000 FCFA, Aminata dreams of opening her shop.

Cocody Danga, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 2019.

Fanta was 18 when she starts hairdressing. 13 years later, she continues to style at the Yamoussoukro market to ensure a decent life for her children. Her daily salary ranges from 5,000 FCFA to 7,000 FCFA.

Market of Yamoussoukro, Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire, 2019.

Ebeper, 67, a mother of 5, sells fish at the Assinie market. It is a painful and labour-intensive activity for a woman whose time to rest has arrived. The violation of maritime rules by some modern fishermen on the high seas creates countless losses and increases the scarcity of fish. The impact is real on the economy of the Assinie-Mafia market. To this end, Ebeper is forced to buy and resell fish from the Autonomous Port of Abidjan when fish can be purchased 10 meters from the market. With daily entries that can sometimes be limited to 500 FCFA, she stores the remaining stock at her home in the hope that it will run out the next day. 

Ebeper wants the government to subsidise women vendors in the Assinie-Mafia market so that all can benefit from additional resources that would allow them to better support themselves and their children.

Assinie-Mafia, Côte d’Ivoire, 2019.

Safiatou, 50, left the centre of Adjame market for the road where sales are more numerous. A mother of several children; two of whom obtained their BTEC Higher National Diploma recently, she says, “trading in the markets is difficult because young people who represent a significant number of customers no longer go there”. Today, she is asking the government to develop the market areas in order to attract a larger clientele.

Adjame, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 2019.

Delafosse Charles-Henry lives and works in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Follow his Instagram for more news and images from his photographic documentaries.