2019 Edison Award
Featured image: Solar Suitcase 3.0. Credit: We Care Solar

American-based Arrow Electronics and nonprofit We Care Solar, have won the 2019 Edison Award for Social Innovation for its joint development of Solar Suitcase 3.0.

The Solar Suitcase is a portable and durable power system that provides sustainable energy for around-the-clock in remote and off-grid maternal health facilities around the world.

The Edison Awards, named after Thomas Alva Edison, recognises and honors the world’s best innovators and innovations.

The Solar Suitcase was selected over other finalists in the category of Humanitarian Technology.

About Solar Suitcase

We Care Solar teamed up with Arrow to ensure women have access to safe childbirth in well-lit health facilities and equip medical providers with the power to save lives.

The electronics company offered to help improve the Solar Suitcase, a sun-powered, waterproof, compact system that includes medical-quality lighting, a fetal monitor, rechargeable headlamps, and cell phone charging for remote health workers to make emergency referrals.

To optimise the lifesaving technology solution, Arrow helped create a lower cost, more powerful design that is now easier to manufacture at scale, install and operate.

Uganda Bussi Island Christina midwife

Each unit is expected to work for at least five years before requiring a battery replacement.

Extensive field testing is continuing in Uganda, and expanded manufacturing in the US is planned for 2019.

“Having the light changed the lives of the health workers and the patients. It changed everything,” said Maimuna Muye, a Nigerian midwife.

All nominations were reviewed by the Edison Awards Steering Committee and the final ballot sent to an independent judging panel.

The judging panel was comprised of more than 3,000 professionals from the fields of product development, design, engineering, science, marketing and education, including professional organizations representing a wide variety of industries and disciplines.