The importance of women’s empowerment cannot be overemphasized. However, economic empowerment-as a component of women empowerment- is imperative in order to make women truly independent (Reduce their dependence on their husbands and their families.)
It is in working towards achieving this that, SOI in collaboration with SAMMANI ( an NGO dedicated to create new opportunities for low income people living in Nima)organized a two (2) days intensive soap and floor cleaner making workshop for the women of Nima and adjoining communities. The training transferred skills that would provide the women with an income-generating venture to enable them to make extra money; to supplement household income and take care of their needs.
Soap is a common good. Soaps are usually used for washing, bathing, and other types of housekeeping. It is economically very viable, easy to produce, readily sellable and does not expire. It is also a product whose ingredients are cheap and easy to find. The procedure to make soap isn’t too complicated and it doesn’t take a long time, so women can also manage their everyday duties alongside making soap.
The project was organized by the spread-out initiative and was sponsored by SAMMANI . The training was conducted by Hajia Cissey who has years of experience in training and making all kinds of soaps. The training which took place at the SOI center in Nima, taught participants how to make various types of soaps and floor cleaners. Twenty (20) women from Nima, Mamobi, Newtown and adjoining communities benefited from the soap and floor cleaner making training.
The participants were first introduced to the ingredients and procedures theoretically. They then watched the instructor demonstrate making the first batch so that they see the process and safety procedures used. They were then broken in smaller groups of 4 to have a hands-on experience, they become the soap makers!
This makes Hajia Cissey’s classes unusual because many soap making classes and workshops are primarily demonstrations which allow participants to watch, but not make any soap themselves. On the final day, participants were presented with certificates by Maria Luisa and took pictures.
Some of the women have started making their own soaps and floor cleaners and SOI is currently supporting these women. They are helping them with label design and packaging. Most of them also need seed funding to enable them to start producing on their own. SOI is currently working with SAMMANI to make this funding available and also organize more of such workshops to help other women on their waiting list.
Story by Alihu Alhassan