The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is raising awareness of light poverty in a global campaign that will run up until the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang.
In partnership with the UN Refugee Agency, the IOC is using the campaign to call attention to the fact that nine out of 10 people in refugee camps have no access to electric lighting, which hinders the amount of time they can work, play and engage in sports.
To support its vision of “building a better world through sport,” the IOC is asking fans around the world to “donate” their physical activity to the cause so more refugees will be able to have access to light. Users of apps including Fitbit, Strava and Moves will be able to connect their fitness trackers to the campaign’s hub online to start tracking their steps, and for each step taken, one “spark” will be donated to the Mahama refugee camp in Rwanda.
The donated “sparks” will help the IOC unlock funds that the UN Refugee Agency will use to buy solar-powered lamps for the camp. Called ‘Become The Light,’ the effort was created in partnership with Publicis London and Poke.
The IOC spreading the word about the effort through a series of PSAs that will run on official Olympic broadcasters around the world, including NBC in the US. The ads feature athletes “emanating light” while competing in winter sports.
In addition to the PSA effort, the IOC has also created a seven-minute documentary that shows how those currently living at the Mahama refugee camp are adversely affected by having little access to light once the sun goes down. The documentary was directed by Max Cutting and produced by Ceen Studio.
“Sport is about building bridges, bringing people together in the spirit of friendship and respect.” said Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, in a statement. “In a world of uncertainties, the message that our shared humanity is greater than the forces that divide us is more relevant than ever before. Athletes carry the light and inspire us, giving us all hope that a better world is possible.”