IRC Announces New Challenge To Use Phosphorescence To Make Latrines Safer, More Accessible

By Henry Crabtree

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LONDON, UK, 22nd February, 2024 – The IRC is launching a new crowdsolving Challenge in partnership with Wazoku and SeaFreight Labs. The Challenge is called “Application of Phosphorescence Technology for Toilet Lighting in Refugee Camps” and will call on applicants to articulate innovative ways to use phosphorescence to illuminate spaces in refugee camp toilet facilities. 

View the Challenge today

This latest Challenge will award US$35,000 in first-prize money and an additional US$10,000 to be shared between one or more finalists. The Challenge’s decision to focus on how to use phosphorescent materials to make latrines safer is a direct result of a prior IRC Challenge, which underscored how harmful concerns around latrine safety can be for women and girls experiencing displacement and called for innovations around latrine safety generally. Two of the winning solutions in that Challenge utilized phosphorescence, which is a low-cost, sustainable, and non-toxic lighting solution. It demonstrated such potential that the Challenge’s organizers deemed it worthy of further research and development . 

With this Challenge, the IRC and its partners are looking for a functional prototype of a lighting solution that uses phosphorescent or luminescent material. Submitted prototypes should absorb sunlight during the day and then glow for a minimum of 12 hours overnight without requiring power from batteries, wires, or other separate components. The prototypes submitted should also be applicable to either new or existing structures and facilities and not require specialized training or licensing for those who would apply it to the latrine structures.

Bansaga Saga, Environmental Health Technical Advisor at the IRC, said: “This new Challenge promises to make the IRC and its partners more effective in delivering proven solutions to our clients around the world, particularly the women and girls we serve who stay in camps for the displaced and must rely upon communal toilet facilities. The focus of this Challenge also touches on some of the approaches that define how we work: it meets a need which has been articulated by our clients themselves, it advances the safety and health of people whose lives have been upended by crisis, and it makes space for common-sense innovations that hold promise to both improve the daily lives of the people we serve and free up resources to help meet other challenges.” 

Those interested in applying should visit the Challenge Center and start solving today! This Challenge closes on the 22nd May at 23:59 pm (EST).

By Henry Crabtree

Wazoku's Community Marketing Manager, Henry is also a life-long Manchester United fan - but we still love him, regardless. When he's not cheering the Reds on, he's working his way through an extensive reading list. Need a book recommendation? He's your man!