Pakistan floods: innovations and guidance for the response.

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What is the humanitarian need?

Going to the toilet is one of the most dangerous things a woman can do in a refugee/IDP camp, due to the risk of sexual violence. This risk is particularly high at night time and lighting is often requested in order to combat this. This research hopes to provide evidence on the connection between lighting and GBV and inform efforts to make WASH facilities safer.

At the same time as conducting research we will respond to the needs identified by the communities we work with by distributing lighting solutions, ranging from torches to installations, dependent on need.

Research has suggested that GBV can increase due to poor public services, particularly a lack of privacy and security in latrine and bathing facilities (House et al, 2014). However, there is currently a gap in empirical evidence on the impact of latrine and bathing-facility lighting in reducing incidences of GBV in humanitarian camp contexts, increasing health indicators related to WASH, and contributing to user’s overall perception of dignity. Furthermore, there have been few attempts to compare the contribution of different lighting solutions in terms of usability, cost-effectiveness, user preference, and their respective impact in advancing these goals.

What is the innovative solution?

Research to improve humanitarian practice around lighting, GBV and WASH:

  1. To identify the relationship between increased lighting of latrine and bathing facilities with:
  • changes in rates of use for these facilities;
  • changes in community member/end-user’s own perceptions of safety, cleanliness, and dignity.
  1. To compare the efficacy and impact of different lighting options in contributing to these three outcomes, and the preferences of women, adolescent girls, adolescent boys, men and children in using different lighting options. Three specific lighting options will be studied:
  • Moveable lighting sources including torches, lamps, etc
  • Lighting of the latrine and bathing facilities alone (lighting should be provided both for the female and male facilities)
  • Lighting of the whole camp, particularly main routes through the camp, alongside the lighting of latrine and bathing facilities.

What were the expected outcomes?

  • Lighting being integrated into humanitarian response more systematically and reducing incidences of GBV as a result.
  • Evidence and recommendations around GBV reduction through lighting would be shared with humanitarian actors.
  • Approx. 6000 displaced people would receive lighting solutions through the project.
  • Following the research, depending on the results, Oxfam would include lighting within the central humanitarian catalogue.
  • The research results would feed into a number of initiatives including UNHCR guidelines on camp design and the IASC GBV guidelines


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Latest Updates

Working together for better humanitarian interventions

Mar 2021

In 2018, Oxfam and the University of Loughborough, with funding from the HIF, carried out research on how and whether lighting affects risks of gender-based violence (GBV) in refugee camps in Nigeria, Iraq and Uganda. Read this project blog to find out more.


Shining a Light: How lighting in or around sanitation facilities affects the risk of gender-based violence in camps

21 Dec 2018

Read Oxfam's publication highlighting their research on the difference that good lighting makes in refugee camps, particularly for women and girls.


Lighting up the lives of Rohingya refugees

14 Aug 2018

In Cox’s Bazaar, Oxfam advocates for all lighting initiatives to use a community-based approach. For the next phase of the project camps that are particularly prone to crime and attacks will be targeted.


Lighting up Northern Nigeria

1 Dec 2017

“I never went out at night time unless I really had to. I would never let my children out at night time. There were too many men taking drugs around the latrines, I would always worry about being attacked."


A bright idea

21 Apr 2017

Imagine going to the toilet was one of the most dangerous things you could do in a day. This is the situation for women living in refugee and IDP camps all over the world.


Read the Humanitarian WASH Innovation Catalogue

Learn more about this WASH project, and many others, in our Humanitarian WASH Innovation Catalogue.

Read now

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