An ECHO training in Creative Capacity Building turns this small soap-making business into a vehicle of change in Magreth’s community. Article by Magreth Omary
My name is Magreth Omary and I am married and God has blessed me with 4 children. My income comes from making batik cloth, stools, embroidery work, and soap which gives me the most income. I own a small shop, a meeting point of my customers who love my products.
Three years ago I was able to attend a Creative Capacity Building training which involved farmers, local fabricators, and entrepreneurs like me. Prior to the CCB training, I faced a challenge of cutting solid soap into straight, attractive bars. This gave a low quality and price to my product compared with factory products.
The CCB training was an eye opener. The facilitators gave us a chance to cite technology challenges we face and divided participants into groups tasked to develop solutions to those challenges. My group focused on creating a soap cutter. At the end of the workshop, my group had come up with a prototype that could be tested and improved. After the workshop, I took the lead as a champion to continue improving the machine, and with micro-grants I was able to continue working toward a working product. I now have a version of a cutter that performs very well.
The attractiveness of my soap bars drastically changed and I am seeing increased prices and sales. Now government authorities would like me to register my business and to shift my factory from my home to a new location near to a road. This challenge I struggle with but I know I will overcome it.
I wish for my children to attain entrepreneurship skills and do better than what I’m doing now. I also have a passion to help my fellow women especially those abandoned by their husbands and widows. The skills that I gained from the training have helped my confidence. I have done more than I was trained for and have trained two fellow women on soap making and developed soap cutters for them. Their businesses are growing well. Six more women are negotiating with me so that I can train them as well. I have been conducting training for women groups and my testimonies really inspire them. One exercise introduced by the CCB trainer, making an elevated corn storage using only two sheets of paper, motivated me. Initially I thought that it was impossible but through trying different ways we finally made a structure that carries 15 cobs. This helps me to believe that things are possible by doing.