Over the past three years, we have worked with the Mothers’ Union of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACoM) to bring light to rural communities throughout Solomon Islands.
The project has improved quality of life for women and young people by improving access to solar lighting, enabling families to replace dangerous and expensive kerosene lighting, and providing solar micro-business opportunities. As a result, there are now villages, and even whole provinces, that are kerosene-free.
During the first successful stage of this project, community members identified other challenges that solar could help solve, including lack of light at community health posts. These health posts are often the only medical facility in rural locations and operate out of semi-permanent buildings.
In most instances, health posts have intermittent or unreliable electricity, forcing nurses to treat patients in the dark. In many villages across Solomon Islands, nurses have reported helping women give birth with only the light of their mobiles phones to guide them. And with no lighting around the health posts, women are more vulnerable as they make their way for treatment.
With our support, ACoM is commencing the second stage of the project. This will include providing solar-powered lighting and other solar-powered products inside health posts across the country.
This year, the project will also test five sensor-activated street lights at a health post in Central Islands Province. These street lights will provide external lighting for the health post and improve safety for women seeking healthcare after dark. The street lights will also make the health post a safer place for women to gather, build relationships and discuss community and health issues.
After the street lights have been installed and tested, the aim is to apply the same approach to health posts across Solomon Islands, working in partnership with the Ministry of Health.
With your support, we can help pregnant mothers and others across the country. Make a donation now to our 2015 Christmas Appeal: Lighting the Way for New Life
Our partners in Ethiopia and Kenya include solar torches in the birthing kits given to midwives and traditional birth attendants. Funding for these programs – which has been provided by the Australian Government – will cease in 2016. We want to keep providing these birthing kits after this funding ends.
In Ethiopia, our partner, the Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA) has been working with the Afar people for more than two decades.
As a nomadic people, Afar communities can be hundreds of kilometres from health facilities when pregnant women go into labor. APDA has been providing health training, including maternal and child health, for care givers and traditional birth attendants.
As women often give birth at night, use of solar torches has been part of this training, as they are a reliable, cheap and portable way of providing safe lighting.
You can support our light-giving work with a one-off donation to our 2015 Christmas Appeal: Lighting the Way for New Life. Alternatively, by becoming a regular donor, you will shine an ongoing light on our work around the world. Call us on 1800 249 880 to set up a regular automatic deduction from your credit card or bank account.