International Rescue Committee


Application of Phosphorescence Technology for Toilet Lighting in Refugee Camps

Seeking applications for phosphorescent or glow-in-the-dark materials for use as sustainable lighting in toilets in refugee camps.


The International Rescue Committee (IRC), the Seeker for this technical Wazoku Crowd Challenge, is looking to explore applications for phosphorescent or glow-in-the-dark materials for use as sustainable lighting in toilets in refugee camps.

Chemical engineers, makers, phosphorescent experts, structural designers, WASH advisors, science enthusiasts, luminescent chemists, innovators, and Solvers representing many more innovative skillsets are encouraged to submit a prototype lighting solution.

In order to increase the feeling of safety of women and girls, improve access to facilities, and reduce incidences of violence, Solvers are asked to create prototypes of phosphorescent or equivalent lighting solutions to install or retrofit onto toilet cubicles, for less than US$5 per cubicle.

Phosphorescent materials like strontium aluminate absorb light and release a glow, often for many hours. A light source that is self-charging, functional without technology, and long-lasting would revolutionize lighting in refugee camps – first in latrines with this IRC trial, but with the potential to be used in dwellings, path lighting, and medical facilities in other emergency settings.

Solvers are required to submit solutions detailing their functional, realized prototype, explicit steps to development, and data/videos from a test or demonstration.

This is a Prize Challenge which requires a written proposal and validated proof of prototype (data, pictures, videos) to be submitted. Awards will be contingent upon the theoretical evaluation of the proposal and prototype data, followed by experimental validation of a few, most promising proposals by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and evaluators.

To receive an Award for this Prize Challenge, Solvers are required to transfer non-exclusive rights to the Intellectual Property (IP) in their proposed solution. Solvers will retain all rights to any proposal not Awarded.

In the first stage of this Challenge, $10,000 USD is reserved to be shared amongst the finalists: the best solution(s) that meet all solution requirements following theoretical evaluation. Then, after shipping the prototype to IRC, an additional $35,000 USD award is contingent on experimental validation of the solution prototype(s) by the IRC and evaluators.

The IRC will make awarded solutions freely available to other non-profit and for-profit organizations to help improve the state of displacement and refugee camps worldwide.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on May 22nd, 2024. Late submissions will not be considered.