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Sisters, doing it for themselves

When we last “chequed” in on the village savings and loans groups you helped back, they were off to a great start and beginning to see the benefits roll in.

Now, thanks to your support, 20 microfinance groups are up and running across Kita, giving women more funds and control to support their families – and themselves!

Today, the women are creating even bigger waves by taking local business into their own hands – literally, with artisan soap operations well under way.

Sidy and his family sit together and laugh.

With surplus savings from booming business, these ladies are really cleaning up!

Through your Community Sponsorship, groups were trained on safe and skilled soap making and provided with startup kits, stocked with all the ingredients and tools they would need (like moulds and mixing tubs) to create quality products.

Women mix soap in buckets, while wearing gloves, masks and goggles.

Additionally, they received financial management training, ensuring they could not only get their ventures off the ground, but turn a profit, and sustain them.

“The soap has allowed us to find another source of income,” says Fanta K. Her small shop brings value beyond her pockets by making cost-effective essentials readily available, and closer to home, contributing to the local economy.

“Today, I sell soap in the village as well as during the weekly fairs. Now we also produce shea oil,” she adds, having recently expanded so that even more opportunity can ripple out – and in!

Breaking the mould, for the better

Sidy and his family sit together and laugh.

Mother, wife, sister, financial manager, business head, soap mixer: the women of Kita, Mali do it all – and all with your help.

Gendered stereotypes have long perpetuated in Kita, limiting both women and men with prescriptive family roles.

But now women are being viewed as earners, boosting their confidence as well as their standing both in and outside the home.

“The soap profits allow me to help my husband to care for the children and meet their needs by purchasing medicine or clothing. Through the project, I understand that women can and must conduct activities to improve their situation and not resign themselves to the fate of only the home,” says Fanta S.

Meanwhile, men are feeling less pressure to function as sole financial providers and welcoming more equal footing in family decisions.

Women laugh and sculpt balls of soap with their hands.

Shaping their own futures.

"Before the women’s group, men faced enormous difficulties in taking charge of the needs of the family,” says Modibo, father of 7 who’s been happy to share the role of breadwinner with his wife Djeneba.

“Today, women help in the payment of contributions or school supplies for children and are beginning to become self-sufficient,” he adds. “Men are pleased with this.”

Modibo, his wife and their 6 children smile and pose for a photo.

Djeneba, Modibo and their family are all for enriched opportunities!

Entrepreneurial women = enhanced family security…

Profile photo of Boubacar.

Boubacar, local ECCD Secretary, farmer and gender equality ally.

We know that women invest in their families and have a unique ability to uplift those around them. Today, both men and women in Kita agree.

“A project that allows women to have the means to meet the needs of children helps the whole family,” says Fanta K. “This project is of great importance to help the community,” adds Boubacar, a local leader.

“Thanks to the soap startups, families are better supported. When women have incomes they contribute more to the development of the family.”

Independent women, stronger families

“Before, we women depended totally on our spouses,” shares Hawa, one of the participants. “Today thanks to community sponsors, women bring their support in taking charge of the family, without waiting for assistance.”

The women of the soap business pose for a group photo.

The soap sisters, running the show.

“I have been very happy to have taken part,” adds one grateful participant – a sentiment that’s shared not just among the many thriving women, but also their families.

Modibo sits with three of his children, while his son givens a thumbs up.

Thank you!

Now see how latrines are giving local girls a new lease on learning.