Empowering Women through Soap Making

Year: 2020
Country: Malawi
Project Status: Funded
Impact Sector: Economic Opportunity
Project Investment: $749.32

Project Launch: 4-22-20

This $749 World Connect grant will provide training and start up materials for 20 women in the Village Savings and Loan Association to learn soap making. A portion of the profits will be reinvested back into the project while another portion will be funneled into the savings and loans account. Women will generate income for their individual households and will additionally have access to loans. These loans can be used to invest in additional income generating activities and enterprises.

Project Update: 7-31-20

Using the $749.32 grant from World Connect, Center for Rural Development has trained 20 women members of Mgwirizano Village Savings Loans Association (VSLA)) in soap making, basic marketing skills and financial literacy. By the end of the training, the women were given start up materials to start the soap making for business, and so far the women have started manufacturing soap on their own which is being sold to the communities. This project has been crucial in this time of COVID-19 as community members have been given an opportunity to access locally made soap for hand washing at affordable prices. To date the women have been able to produce and sell 2000 tablets soap to the community members, who have expressed satisfaction with the product, hence ensuring product quality and marketability. The money generated from the sales has been invested in the women’s VSLA account for project sustainability as well as for women to access individual loans.

Final Report: 12-31-20

Centre for Rural Development (CRD), a Thyolo based Community Organization has successfully launched an income generating project aimed at improving the economic status of women in Makande area. A total of 20 women from Mgwirizano Village Savings and Loans (VSLA) group have been equipped with soap making skills, mindset change, financial literacy and marketing knowledge. The $749.32 grant funds from World Connect were used to procure soap production materials such as caustic soda, palm oil, perfume, lotion and molds that were used by the participants in a one-day training on soap production. Using skills gained, the women have produced more than 5,000 tablets of soap which generated about $147 (K110,000) in profits in the first round only. In addition to individual contributions, the group now has $547 (K410,000) which they intend to increase to $2,000 by March 2021 by investing on loans and savings to boost individual businesses. The produced soap  is popular among community members as it is durable and lathers easily. The cheaper price has enabled more community members to have easy access to the product which also positively led to a high percentage of them practicing hygiene inline with COVID-19 prevention measures. The group showed resilience and potential for upscaling of their business model for increased impact on women and the general community