The WashCost project, recently revealed some statistics about soap we think you’ll find surprising:
- In Ghana, communities spend US$ 26 per capita per year on soap, more than the per capita cost of a small town water system.
- In Mozambique, households are spending up to 5% of their cash-income on soap.
All very interesting you say, but what’s it got to do with poverty… well, here are some more statistics on poverty that may shock you:
- Hand washing with soap has been shown to reduce the incidence of diarrhoeal disease by over 40 percent
- Diarrhoea is the second leading cause of death among children under five globally. (WHO)
- UNICEF estimates that almost half of the deaths from diarrhea each year could be prevented through an understanding of basic hygiene.
How then can we help people access this expensive but necessary commodity?
- By making it! Soap is in most basic form is the combination of animal fat and lye water made from rainwater passed through ordinary cooking ash. Making soap is much cheaper than buying it – although it does take time.
- If soap is not available, ash, tree bark, soil or sand can be used instead.
- Setting up health clubs in the community, including school clubs for kids, to communicate health messages about the importance of soap and handwashing.
- Training local volunteers as health club facilitators to continue to spread the message.
This picture shows women from Omdurman in North Sudan, posing with their homemade soap on the last day of their soap-making training!
We at Toilet Twinning want these poverty statistics to change.
By linking your loo with a latrine in Africa, you’ll not only help give people access a decent toilet, but you’ll also help fund essential hygiene promotion and education programs like these. If you’d like more poverty, water and santitation statistics, you can read more on our website.
Please think about twinning your toilet today – or if you’re a seasoned twinner, tell your friends about us!