If the Covid-19 pandemic retaught the world one thing, it was the utmost importance of frequently washing one’s hands. Now, that is easier said than done for some, as far from everyone in South Sudan has unlimited access to soap.
Some 45 young citizens of Aweil, two thirds of whom are women, no longer face that challenge: after undertaking a three-month-long training, they not only have liquid soap, but they can also make it themselves, should their local shop be out of stock.
“If we can keep this project going, we are equipped to make a difference for our country. We should no longer have to import liquid soap from abroad, but instead make it ourselves, in South Sudan,” said Okot Anduro, the representative of the newly graduated students, adding that producing and selling the products will also help course participants to sustain themselves and their families.
The vocational training, aimed at empowering young men and women by making it easier for them to make a living, was funded by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and implemented by the national non-governmental organization Help Restore Youth.
Admiring the skills of young soap makers, who used the opportunity offered by the graduation ceremony to demonstrate how the products are made, Sebastian Uchan, State Minister of Cabinet Affairs, highlighted the need for a combination of know-how and inspiration among the youth.
“This is a unique occasion in our state, and it means a lot when you manage to manufacture something on your own, for the good of your society. Trainings like this one help us recreate ourselves, adding much-needed creativity and a refreshment of our minds,” he said, urging the peacekeeping mission to continue its support to the development of the country.
Inecita Montero, Acting Head of the UNMISS Field Office in Aweil, was pleased with the success of the course, but wanted the skills taught to reach beyond the graduates themselves.
“I ask you to replicate this experience by teaching family members and friends how to produce soap. The more skilled people you have, the more your community will benefit,” she said.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).