Little Sun Continues to Shine on Displaced Families in Ethiopia

It has been nine months since 40-year-old Ardom Mohamedabdi was displaced with her family of ten and resettled next to Adadle town in the Somali Region of Ethiopia. Among the limited household possessions that Ardom and her family managed to carry, or received through humanitarian assistance, there is one particular item which she values most — the Little Sun solar light.

“This light has become a real little sunshine in our house. We use it at night to cook and organize our place,” she said. “Without this light it was dangerous to walk around at night.”

The solar light has given this mother the security to go out to the toilet or meet up with neighbours at night.

Ader shows off her Little Sun light.

Little Sun has brought families together

35 year-old Ader is another recipient of the Little Sun, who was displaced with nine members of her family.

“We have received water, food, and other essential items. Almost as important to us now is this light. We did not even knew that such a light even existed,” she said, “Our house is much brighter. Now we spend hours talking around the light,” the mother said, explaining how the Little Sun has brought the family together around it.
“I walk with this on my neck. I consider it a jewel that brings light to my path at night,” she said.

Ader and her daughters say they always put it on when they head out to meet with neighbours after dark.

“All my children were filled with laughter and joy when they saw this light at first,” Ader said.

Supporting Internally Displaced People

IOM, in collaboration with Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau (DPPB), distributed Emergency Shelter materials, cash assistance for relief items and dignity kits to more than 1,500 households in Adadle Woreda in February 2018.

Among the dignity kit items provided to women aged 12–49 were solar lamps, which were first introduced through a collaboration between IOM and Little Sun GmbH in early 2017.

To date, over 20,000 Little Sun Original solar lights were distributed to internally displaced women in Ethiopia through IOM. The dignity kits accompanied 21,535 emergency shelter and core relief packages distributed by IOM in 2017.

Some of the women pose with their Little Sun solar lights.

Sustainable Solar Alternative

Firewood and battery-powered torches are the primary sources of light among the displaced community in Ethiopia, which prove to be challenging to collect or expensive to maintain. Community members had to buy batteries every three to five days heading to the nearest town walking through the desert.

Internally displaced women and girls can be highly vulnerable to risks like gender based violence with displacement camps often located far from major infrastructure such as electricity.

IOM teamed up with Little Sun GmbH to bring an innovative, environmentally conscious alternative of solar lights to better equip displaced families to overcome such challenges.

Some of the women with their Little Sun solar lights.

IOM continues to support the Government of Ethiopia in establishing conditions which make possible the progressive resolution of displacement.

Under the leadership of the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), the United Nations Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), IOM’s support to the GOE on addressing internal displacement encompasses a wide spectrum of interventions, from prevention and preparedness, through response and mitigation to recovery.

IOM Emergency Shelter/Non-Food Item and Dignity Kit distributions are funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the United States Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the Ethiopian Humanitarian Fund (EHF) and by a private donation from the Canadian Federation of University Woman Perth and District Chapter (CFUW-Perth & District).

IOM recently released an appeal for funds to support its resilience based approach in Ethiopia. Find out more here.


This story was posted by Alemayehu SEIFESELASSIE, IOM Ethiopia. You can contact him via email: salemayehu@iom.int