The IK Foundation, has organised natural shea butter soap making training for the women in the Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri District of the North East Region, Ghana.
The training under the theme: ‘Unity and Indigenous Knowledge’, was conducted by international natural soap guru, Mr. Larry Plesent, founder of Vermont Soap, who has made soap with African shea butter for over 20 years.
About 80 women from 16 communities namely Bunkpurugu, Kambatiak, Gbankoni, Kambagu, Jilik, Najong 1,Najong 2,Nanyiar, Chintilung, Nakpanduri, Guangbiang, Bimbagu, Dunglaar Gberuk, Konchiann, Naburik, Binde in the Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri district benefitted from the training.
The beneficiaries received many hours of training and were given quality information and practical experience on natural soap making methods. The soap was formulated using 100% locally sourced shea butter, together with indigenous herbs and minerals for traditional medication and perfumery.
The CEO of IK Foundation, Mrs. Irene Konlan Lovett, explained that she realised Bimoba varieties of shea butter were much softer than others in West Africa, making it less desirable for export demand.
“Soap made from local ingredients adds value, with both livelihood and employment opportunities,” she stated.
She noted that IK Foundation is ready and willing to receive ideas and support from well-meaning traditional leaders, politicians, philanthropists, friends and business entities across the North East Region to train more women and the youths in the district.
Founder of Vermont Soap, Larry Plesent, said that it is critical for women to recognise and utilise their indigenous knowledge whilst gaining additional skills to aid local economic development and improve the well-being of our children.
‘Empowering a woman empowers a family; empowering a family empowers a community.’
One trainee at Nakpanduri, the Chief’s wife, Dorcas Kansuk, said, “This training was an eye-opener, we did not know how to make soap, nor did we know we could use local shea butter. Now I can keep my grandchildren clean while my daughters make money selling natural soap.”
The Paramount Chief of the Bunkpurugu traditional area, Naa Alhaji Abuba Nasinmong, advised an entourage of women trainees, who came to greet him.
“Millionaires do not become millionaires overnight; they learn a skill then make good use of it. You then save some of the profits, invest again, and continue, after much work finally you will see the wealth you have grown,” .Naa Alhaji Abuba Nasinmong
Since 2015, IK Foundation has provided motivational and confidence building sessions for women and school children. Promoting natural skincare, made with indigenous ingredients. It has advocated against skin bleaching and use of illegal, carcinogenic chemicals.
The Foundation also supports menstrual health education, good nutrition for women and children, and a plastic pesticide-free life.
Meetings were held with the paramount chiefs and elders of Bunkpurugu, Nakpanduri, and Kambagu, the D.C.E of Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri District, and his team amidst drumming and other celebrations at the trainings, signaling their approval and gratitude to the visitor from North East America.
The unique week-long project has impacted much indigenous knowledge to the women of Muok and IK Foundation’s work aims to continue helping women to become financially independent, while adding value to their indigenous products, including the exceptional shea butter of this area.
By Eric Kombat