Meet Jean Yves - 'The Soap Man'

As part of Origin’s ongoing commitment towards greater diversity of voices, we wanted to start highlighting the work of some of our amazing project leaders.

All of the profits from our ethical garments are invested into humanitarian projects in Africa (read more about how this works here).

And because of this, we feel it’s important our customers get to know the people and communities who benefit from their funds.

In this new series we will be introducing you to the people and communities who benefit from the sale of our garments - starting with the incredible Jean Yves Yonli.

sustainable soap Bamako Mali Africa

Nogo Tala Sania - Zero Waste Hygiene

The COVID pandemic has certainly seen sanitation and hand hygiene thrown into the spotlight, which is why we’ve chosen to share Jean Yves’ fantastic business first.

This Mali-based entrepreneur was already ahead of the hand-washing curve, making planet-friendly soap in the capital city of Bamako.

But Jean Yves had a vision. He wanted to use his soap business to create jobs, provide stable salaries, while also keeping his business sustainable and environmentally friendly.

When Origin and Jean Yves first crossed paths, he told us his plan was to expand, employ more people and supply more soap - and through the sale of our garments he has managed to do just that!

sustainable soap Bamako Mali Africa

Origin’s investment

Origin first became involved with Jean Yves in February 2020, and in a few short months he has already seen an incredible growth.

We invested £800 into Jean Yves’ business in the form of a cash grant to help fund his plans for growth, and he is already seeing great returns from this. 

Production of the soap boules has doubled from 2,000 to 4,000 a month, and his client list has grown from 500 to 600.

He has employed four more people on salaried work - something which in Mali can provide an incredible amount of financial security.

Many workers are employed on an ad-hoc basis, but a salary means they can plan for the future, become financially independent and even be able to join finance collectives.

sustainable soap Bamako Mali Africa

A Vision for the Future

Inspired by the progress he has made thanks to Origin’s funding boost, Jean Yves has already drawn up plans for his next big step.

He is hoping to purchase a machine to produce the soap - which is currently made by hand. 

This would allow production to soar to 5,000 boules a day, creating 10 more production jobs, 5 packaging jobs, 2 security jobs, 26 sales jobs and 5 accountant jobs.

This will be a much greater investment and Origin will be following Jean Yves’ progress as his business continues to grow.

sustainable soap Bamako Mali Africa

Investing to break the cycle of poverty

Origin invests 100% of its profits in locally-led, humanitarian projects in Africa in the form of cash grants to support business models and ideas.

We believe entrepreneurs are the future for developing countries and hold the key to breaking the poverty cycle.

All of Origin’s projects are carefully selected by in-country board members, and each project must meet our stringent Project Principles.

They must be locally led, sustainable for local people, have a selected social impact goal and be realistic and culturally appropriate in the local setting.

Find out more about how we fund our projects, our commitment to ethical fashion and our project principles here.