I Got Clean In Ethiopia

Soap is pretty useful if you want to scrub up and keep yourself clean.

But do you know how to make it? No?

I wasn’t sure either. But then I was given a master class by members of a soap making cooperative in Ethiopia.

It’s pretty simple really, so long as you’ve got the right ingredients.

Take some vegetable oil and caustic soda and mix them together. Then add some beeswax to help speed up the drying process. Finally you’ll need to add the special ingredient - Aloe Vera.

What makes this plant so special? Well, it can survive and continue to grow for up to three years without any water! This makes it perfect for places like Ethiopia where water is in short supply and droughts are becoming a regular appearance. You see, climate change continues to make the weather more unpredictable and sometimes there can be several months with no rain at all. Where other plants struggle to survive, Aloe Vera grows in abundance.

The soap cooperatives, supported by an organisation called HUNDEE, are helping local communities to diversify their lives. Selling the soap at local markets makes the cooperatives a good profit and they’ve got plans to start supplying local hotels.

Now people needn’t just rely on money from livestock. There’s also been a big change in the way women are treated in the communities. The co-ops employ four times as many women as men, giving them a status and helping them to get their voices heard.

Now that’s a pretty clean deal!