Sustainable Soap in the Sahel
We have been working with our Mali-based advisor Didier Ndane for some time exploring what format Malian projects can take.
And finally, we think we might have found one - in the shape of a sustainable soap project!
But the road to finding this project wasn’t without difficulties.
There are many challenges this country is facing - the North has been torn apart by civil war, meaning lots of uneducated neglected people are landing in the capital city Bamako with ideas - but no means to launch them.
(As a side note, the seamstress school there is slowly taking shape and we are supporting Alain, but it is taking time.)
This latest trip was about exploring the region and finding a new entrepreneur to support.
First off, Didier organised a whistle-stop tour of Bamako and the surrounding districts to explore some possible entrepreneurial social businesses we could support.
One such entrepreneur, Jean-Yves, really stood out from the crowd.
Not only did he have a passion to make the business work, but he seemed to simultaneously be concerned about getting those around him to escape problem situations.
He had even built this into his plans for business growth.
It was just what we were looking for - and capital to launch and expand was just what he was looking for. It seemed the perfect match!
Jean-Yves is an engineer, a businessman and a family man. He has set up a micro-business making sustainably sourced soap:
So what are the benefits of this in a place like Bamako?
Firstly, the business is sustainable, which is rare in a city where waste is more than rife.
Secondly, it provides a means for people to easily access affordable sanitation - especially important in a country where water and sanitation related illness adversely affects the growth and development of 26% of Malian children (UNICEF 2018)
And thirdly, it creates jobs! Investing in entrepreneurs and creating jobs is a not-yet-enough trodden route to break the cycle of poverty in developing countries.
More jobs in a sustainable social business that allows a more affordable sanitation improving solution to water borne illness ticks a lot of Origin partner opportunity boxes.
We are now working together on business strategy and marketing principles - and Jean-Yves gets capital investment this week.
Bonne Chance Jean-Yves!