12 September 2011

Uganda: Women Taught to Make Soap, Candles

As the struggle for survival gets harder by the day with rising costs of basics, people are learning newer ways of getting along. This is what a female group in Rakai has set out to do, with assistance from an NGO.

African Women Economic Policy Network (AWEPON) has embarked on training women to cope with the challenges of inflation. AWEPON Programme Manager, Ms Florence Kasule, told members of Bakyala Twesitule Women's Group, Kisunku, Lwankoni Sub-county, Rakai District, that one way of beating inflation is to produce more, and to reduce household expenditure. She was speaking at the beginning of their skills development three-day-workshop on September 9. "We must fight poverty by engaging in production ourselves, and by acquiring the needed skills," she said.

On the first day of the workshop, the women were taught to make soap, petroleum jelly, and candles. Mrs Margaret Lubanga Nakate, one of the facilitators told the women: "As housewives, we worry about spending money on such items as soap, petroleum jelly and paraffin to light our homes at night. Yet we could make our own soap, our own jelly and candles not only for our own use, but also for sale and generate some income."

The group spent the day working together using simple tools and materials to make candles, soap and jelly. She told them where they could purchase the required materials and the tools, and also demonstrated to them the profits they could earn if they started making the products. She also taught them how they would incorporate local herbs into the jelly to make it medicinal and then be able to sell it as a remedy against skin infections.

Ms Annette Namatovu, a member of Bakyala Twesitule Women's Group, later told Daily Monitor, "The training is quite beneficial to us because we have been spending so much money on soap, petroleum jelly for our babies and on paraffin to light our homes at night. When we make the items ourselves we will then save a lot of money. Making the products will also be part of our group's main activities."

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