Sometimes a little light can provide more than just illumination. It can provide safety, further education, allow businesses to remain open long into the night; the obvious benefits of light are there for all to be seen. Sometimes, however, a light can be used for something a little different and unexpected, as International Medical Corps proved this past year.
International Medical Corps is a global first responder who delivers emergency medical and related services to those affected by conflict, disaster and disease, no matter where they are, no matter what the conditions. Providing humanitarian assistance to the millions of people displaced by the conflict in the North East of Nigeria was just one of their programs during 2019. Entering its tenth year, the conflict, ultimately a consequence of an insurgency, has disrupted the most fundamental sources of survival for the populations where even the most basic needs are lacking. With an estimated 7.1 million people still in need of lifesaving interventions to survive, this is one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world. In addition, Nigeria remains the only country in Africa which has not yet been declared Polio-free by the World Health Organization. For this reason, International Medical Corps implements a comprehensive program in support of Polio prevention and eradication.
Through a number of factors ranging from the disruption of health services to cultural beliefs related to immunization, an overall immunization rate of less than 30% nationwide has resulted in life threatening outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Because of this, International Medical Corps’ additional project addresses this problem through vaccines, community education, and disease surveillance - to name a few. This is also where our lights came in. Our lights were utilized to not only improve the safety for women and girls in their programs, but also act as a critical incentive to increase the number of parents and caregivers immunizing their children against Polio, helping increase immunizations by 15%.
Our Luci lights provided an essential item for women, children, and adolescent girls in the IDP camps. The camps aren’t electrified and have limited access to flashlights and kerosene lanterns. The solar lights provided more than light to the beneficiaries; they also provided protection for women and girls accessing latrines and showers during the night hours. Protection from physical injury – related to unsafe areas or animals within the camp, including snakes – but also protection from individuals who might wish to do them harm in the darker areas of the camp. In addition, breastfeeding women were able to utilize the lights at night when nursing their babies, and by using the lights inside the shelters the risk of fire caused by other sources of light, such as candles and kerosene lanterns, was greatly reduced.
Through the donation of our lights, International Medical Corps was able to reach the most vulnerable group of people in Northern Nigeria, which is one of the most challenging environments in the country, especially within IDP camps. The lights not only supported International Medical Corps’ overall strategy to improve the health conditions of the IDPs, the incentive of the lights came at a time when the country is in the last months of Polio eradication and the encouragement of immunization is at its most difficult.
Support our work with amazing organizations like International Medical Corps by donating a light here!