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Camps are places of refuge for people fleeing conflict and disaster, but they can be dangerous, especially for women and girls. In their first months, many camps rely on communal sanitation facilities – a quick and cost-effective way of meeting immediate needs and minimizing public health risks until a better solution can be developed. Sharing latrines and bathing areas with large numbers of strangers, however, can be frightening. One of the main – and unavoidable – reasons women and girls leave their shelters after dark is to go to the toilet, including to manage their menstruation, yet for many it is a risky enterprise.

This research concludes that good-quality lighting interventions in camps do make people feel safer. However, many factors affect safety, especially for women and girls, and lighting can only ever be part of a comprehensive and well-coordinated strategy to reduce risks of GBV.

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rachel.hastie@oxfam.org