By now, most InnoCentive Solvers know about Mark Bent, CEO of SunNight Solar, the company that is bringing light to people in off-grid areas of the world. Over the last few months we've blogged about Mark frequently, and about the good work he's doing in Africa and beyond. In a phone call today about another project Mark has been working on (more on that soon), he let me know that the BOGO flashlight, created with the help of an InnoCentive Solver, will now be distributed to families living without power in the Gaza strip, through a program called Lights for Gaza. The project was brought to Mark by students in Mexico, Egypt, India and Bethlehem, who are part of Engineers Without Borders. This rapidly expanding grass roots effort aims to push back the darkness, after the destruction of much of Gaza electrical distribution infrastructure during the recent 22 days of fighting. With the majority of the 1.3 million inhabitants of Gaza fearfully waiting out the nights without light, or forced to use candles or makeshift kerosene lanterns for illumination, lighting is often overlooked as a vital part in alleviating humanitarian suffering and allowing families to regain a minimal quality of life.
In a statement on the project's web site, Mark Bent, a former US diplomat under the Clinton Administration and the founder of SunNight Solar offers, “This endeavor is exactly what President Obama is repeating over and over again in his public comments and speeches – service to others, humanitarian efforts over war and building global alliances with an international focus in efforts to reach out to people in need. With Secretary of State Clinton voicing the need to have ‘smart power’ as a cornerstone of US foreign policy, student efforts such as the LightsForGaza campaign are leading the way and we are honored and pleased to respond positively to this request to provide our solar lighting products to the people of Gaza”.
To find out more about this project, please see www.LightsForGaza.com.