Solar Lanterns Combat Sexual Violence in Somalia
GENEVA, Switzerland, September 24, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- IOM Somalia has teamed up with a Japanese company – Solar Partners Company Limited – to combat sexual violence against women in Somalia.
Every time a customer in Japan installs a household solar panel through Solar Partners' service, the company will donate the same amount (about USD 35) to buy a solar lantern and ship it to Somalia. Under the scheme, the company aims to donate a total of 1,000 solar lanterns.
The lanterns will be distributed in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) to protect vulnerable women from sexual and gender-based violence. A study on the effectiveness of lighting to reduce such attacks in IDP settlements is on-going and results will be issued in December 2013.
According to UNDP, the prevalence of gender-based violence in Somalia is among the highest in the world. Migrants and IDPs are at highest risk, due to lack of protection and the insecure environment in which they live.
“Living in crowded IDP settlements, women and girls are particularly exposed to sexual and gender-based violence. While this violence is now receiving much more attention internationally, preventing it is a complex challenge. Each lantern will take us one step closer to ending this problem,” says Dr. Chiaki Ito, IOM Somalia's Health Programme Coordinator.
The partnership with Solar Partners is one of several innovative public-private partnerships that IOM has in Somalia.
IOM Migration Health Division has been implementing projects in Somalia since 2009 to combat the problems of HIV and AIDS, sexual and gender-based violence, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and providing basic health care services to vulnerable IDPs through the health centres and mobile clinics.
Since 2007, IOM has been implementing humanitarian programmes in all three zones of Somalia (Somaliland, Puntland and South Central), with funding from the governments of Italy, Japan, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, USA, the EU and others.