Arrow & We Care Solar co-operate on award-winning solar suitcase for maternity care in developing countries

08 April 2019

Solar Suitcase 1
Solar Suitcase 1

Joint development of innovative solar-powered systems designed to meet essential maternity care needs in developing countries wins 2019 Edison Gold Award.

Arrow Electronics and nonprofit, We Care Solar won the 2019 Edison Award for Social Innovation for its joint development of Solar Suitcase 3.0, a portable and durable power system that provides sustainable energy for around-the-clock, effective obstetric care in remote and off-grid maternal health facilities around the world, especially in developing countries.

Named after Thomas Alva Edison, the Edison Awards recognise and honour the world’s best innovators and innovations. 2019 marks the 32nd year the Edison Universe organisation has recognised technology innovation in categories ranging from medical advancements to building materials.

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

Worldwide, more than one billion people live without electricity – and more than 300,000 women die in childbirth, often turned away from health centres that lack power. Most of these deaths occur in developing countries in Africa and Asia.

We Care Solar is a nonprofit that has teamed 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.

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

To optimise We Care Solar’s lifesaving technology solution, Arrow helped create a lower cost, more powerful design that is now easier to manufacture at scale, install and operate. Each unit is expected to work for at least five years before requiring a simple battery replacement. Extensive field testing is continuing in Uganda, and expanded manufacturing in the United States is planned for 2019.

Solar Suitcase 2
Solar Suitcase 2

“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 organisations representing a wide variety of industries and disciplines.

The Edison Award winners were announced at a ceremony in New York on April 4, 2019.

Solar Suitcase 3
Solar Suitcase 3

About Arrow Electronics
Arrow Electronics is a global provider of products, services & solutions to industrial & commercial users of electronic components & enterprise computing solutions. We have been on a journey to refocus our mission towards enabling the transformational future that awaits us all. Our 'Five Years Out' campaign articulates a tangible future where new technologies, new materials, new ideas and new electronics will make life not only different, but better, cheaper and smarter. We have identified specific value propositions along a set of solution areas around which Arrow divisions are now oriented: Aerospace & Defence; Business Intelligence; Data Centres; Power Management; Internet of Things; Cloud; Mobility; and Security. Learn more at

About We Care Solar
We Care Solar is a non-profit organisation that promotes safe motherhood and reduces maternal mortality in developing regions by providing health workers with reliable lighting, mobile communication and medical devices using solar electricity. We Care Solar has equipped 3,500 health centers and emergency response teams in 27 countries with Solar Suitcases, serving 1.8 million mothers and their infants. Learn more at

About Edison Awards
Established in 1987, the Edison Awards is a program conducted by Edison Universe, a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering future innovators. For more information about the Edison Awards, please visit

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