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Tackling Gender-based Violence in Somalia with Solar Lanterns

By International Office of Migration (IOM)

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 9, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Panasonic Corporation, a Japanese multinational electronics company, has donated Y3,000,000 (USD 31,000) to IOM for a study intended to assess how effective solar lanterns can reduce gender-based violence in Somali displacement camps.

The study on the “Effectiveness and Sustainability of Solar Lanterns in Reducing Insecurity and Gender-based Violence among Internally Displaced Persons in Puntland, Somalia,” will be the country's first-ever study of this type.

The prevalence of gender-based violence in Somalia, including rape, is reported to be one of the highest in the world. Migrants and internally displaced people (IDPs) are particularly vulnerable, due to lack of protection and the insecure environment in which they live.

In June 2012, IOM Somalia conducted a rapid assessment in two IDP settlements in Somalia where gender-based violence prevalence was reportedly high. The assessment concluded that many of the incidents took place at night, when IDP settlements are in darkness. IOM followed up with a distribution of over 1,400 solar lanterns in IDP camps countrywide.

Although lighting has been known to prevent gender-based violence, no scientific study of the issue has ever been conducted in Somalia. IOM will therefore conduct baseline and post-intervention studies to establish the link between solar lanterns and levels of gender-based violence in the areas of distribution, and to assess how cost-effective solar lanterns are in reducing the number of reported cases.

The study will also shed light on other changes that solar lanterns may bring about to the lives of IDPs, including the impact of light that allows school children to study at night.