Program evaluation of handheld solar light distribution among displaced populations in Haiti

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by gender-based violence (GBV) in humanitarian and displacement settings, as they are often separated from families, and living in contexts in which rule of law, safety, and security are severely compromised.

Adequate lighting in communal areas or lighting for individual use is currently recommended in the Guidelines for GBV Interventions in Humanitarian Settings. Previous evaluations on the use of handheld and/or street lights have been conducted in development and humanitarian settings, and recommended further work to understand if and how women use individual handheld lights.

This pre- and post-test mixed methods evaluation documented the use and benefits of handheld solar lights among females aged 14 and older to mitigate the risks for violence in internally displaced person camps, and to improve their sense of safety in Port-au-Prince, Haiti (n=754). 

The evaluation indicated that women and girls used the solar lights regularly; however, the lights do not address their most commonly held fears (e.g., physical violence, gunshots). The solar lights addressed a clear need for women and girls: access to a consistent portable lighting source. This, as well as durability and retention rates, could be a reason for investing in future distributions of this kind. Evaluation results were used to improve the IRCs handheld solar light program and inform decisions about how to sustain and improve the use of handheld solar lights in that population.

The Airbel Impact Lab at IRC is a team of researchers, strategists and innovators committed to the accelerated design, rigorous evaluation and cost-effective scaling of the most impactful solutions supporting people affected by crisis.