VIS Ghana, BOK Africa Concern commission soap factory at Senase

BY: Kwame Larweh
The Black Soap Warehouse building at the Nana Owusu Fakyiwaa Soap Resource Centre at Senase
The Black Soap Warehouse building at the Nana Owusu Fakyiwaa Soap Resource Centre at Senase

A new version of the locally made soap, "alata samina", otherwise known as  Black Soap has been launched at a ceremony in Senase in the Berekum East Municipality in the Bono Region.

The soap is manufactured with ingredients such as coconut oil, palm oil, potash, honey, perfume, thickener and preservatives which protect the skin.

This was at a brief but colourful ceremony which took place during the handing-over of the Black Soap Warehouse building initiated by VIS Ghana, an Italian NGO based in Accra and Sunyani as well as BOK Africa Concern, a Berekum-based NGO, to the Senase Community at the Nana Owusu Fakyiwaa Soap Resource Centre at Senase.

Mr Kyere Kofi, a chief linguist, indicated that the warehouse project, was to serve as the headquarters for the production and distribution of the soap that would help stem irregular migration and create employment for the youth in the area.

He thanked all, especially BOK Africa Concern, a Berekum-based NGO and VIS Ghana, for seeing to the successful implementation of the Black Soap Warehouse project.

Making a presentation on the project scope of the factory, Ms Silvia Tizzi, Project Manager, VIS Ghana, stated that the black soap project was started in 2019 with the objective of tackling irregular migration and the promotion of local development.

She said it was funded by the Italian Bishops Conference at a cost of Ghc500,000 to offer assistance and improve the welfare of vulnerable women by scaling up their income and promoting gender empowerment, an important pillar of the project.

The Project Manager added that it began with vocational training in black soap production with more than 1300 women and 48 community groups, adding that they would seek support to establish district associations, and then later regional associations to organise the production and marketing of the products to improve on their earnings.

"Thinking into meeting full production cycle in future, it forms part of our strategies and proposal to focus currently on economic and environment sustainability by strengthening the structures of the association and its expansion."It could even mean to establish a micro-credit system to support the women to financially purchase more materials and equipment where there's shortages and challenges. It will target women in disability, trafficking and conflict situation, " she noted.

Mr Benson Osei-Savio Boateng, Executive Director, BOK Africa Concern, was full of praise for VIS Ghana, an Italian NGO based in Ashaiman, Accra and the architects of the project, Mr Alessandro Villari and Mr Sebastian Nucifora, both professors of the Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, Italy, for producing drawings and designs of the building.

He also praised the contractors, including Ernest de Bosco Construction Ltd and Zigato Architecturals, who provided inputs for the pre-tender process and technical expertise for the construction of the facility.

Nana Yeboah Asuamah, the Nifahene of Senase Traditional Council, said it was an honour for the community to host the facility and encouraged the women to organise themselves well to take advantage of the opportunity.

Mr Nuhu Salifu Dimah, Bono Regional Director, Business Advisory Centre, noted that the project would bridge the gap between women and men in terms of having a 'voice in the community'.

He tasked the district officers to collect and forward all relevant information for the formalisation, operation and registration of the business, stressing that the Food and Drugs Authority  (FDA) and the Registrar General's Department were equally capable of helping in that direction free of charge.

The Regional Director underscored the relevance of promoting the business on the internet, noting that they would showcase some pictures of the product on the Ghana Enterprise Agency  (GEA) online platform to promote its sales and marketing.

Mr Salifu Dimah said further that in order to ensure the sustainability of the project, they would work to bring many stakeholders to discuss how they could offer financial support to expand the business.