WE CARE Solar Overview: More than 287,000 women die each year from pregnancy complications, and millions of infants are stillborn or die in the first days of life, primarily in regions with insufficient energy resources for conducting basic obstetric care.
The award-winning Women’s Emergency Communication and Reliable Electricity (WE CARE) Solar Suitcase is an economical, easy-to-use portable power unit that provides health workers with highly efficient medical lighting and power for mobile communication, computers, and medical devices. By equipping off-grid medical clinics with solar power for urgent medical care, WE CARE Solar reduces maternal and infant morbidity and mortality and improves the quality of care in Africa, Haiti and other regions.
Demonstrating the DIL Approach
WE CARE Solar has designed a viable business model to facilitate the efficient manufacturing of Solar Suitcases at scale and is working with country-based partners to facilitate the distribution and servicing of solar electric systems. Following proof-of-concept pilot studies to evaluate the performance and social impact of the Solar Suitcase, WE CARE Solar continues to measure the following indicators on an ongoing basis: deployments of Solar Suitcases to health facilities in different regions; number of in-country partner intermediaries; and end-user satisfaction.
WE CARE Solar’s innovative and comprehensive approach toward achieving social impact was recognized when the organization was selected as a winner in the 2008 Big Ideas Contest, sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Blum Center for Developing Economies. WE CARE Solar was also selected as a 2011 San Jose Tech Laureate, a 2011 Nokia Health Awardee, a 2010 Global Social Venture Competition winner, and participated in the 2010 Global Social Benefit Incubator, organized by Santa Clara University.
WE CARE Solar has deployed over 1000 suitcases to date, across 30 countries, including local training. In addition to increasing the safety of childbirth, the team has helped health providers treat cholera victims in DR Congo, post-earthquake victims in Haiti and Japan, and post-typhoon victims in the Philippines. They have been deployed to Nepal to help with earthquake relief efforts. The WE CARE team is also developing a Best Practices guide based on an extensive review of our partnerships, a Sustainability Framework for optimal service delivery, and a strategic plan for scaling.
Relevant Press and Publications
- How the ‘solar suitcase’ makes childbirth safer (BBC News, March 2016)
- WE CARE Solar wins $1 Million UN Award (Development Impact Lab, September 2015)
- The 1,000th Solar Suitcase: Scaling Innovation out of the University (Development Impact Lab, February 2015)