Through the effective facilitation of Winrock International’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program, a critical initiative in the field of community development, Volunteer Assignment #288, centered on disseminating soap and lotion production techniques, was successfully concluded in Guinea. The program, which took place from July 16, 2023, to July 31, 2023, was characterized by a synergistic effort of in-country Volunteer Bara Kasambara and U.S. Volunteer Robert Spencer, who dedicated their expertise and energy to empowering local communities.
Within the first week, Kasambara and Spencer teamed up with the organization La Coopérative des Producteurs d’Arachide, de Beurre de Karité et de Miel (COPRAKAM), stationed in Dabola. They were tasked with guiding participants through the process of cold-process soap fabrication. This procedure required the integration of sodium hydroxide with oils of various types, specifically shea butter and peanut oil, commonly accessible in the local environment. The ensuing training in the second week, conducted in collaboration with Aucune Femme Sans Emploi (AFESE) in Conakry, saw the volunteers imparting knowledge on the fabrication of lotions utilizing emulsifying wax, a key ingredient in lotion production.
For most participants, this training represented their initial encounter with soap and lotion creation. They expressed deep appreciation for the new knowledge acquired and were motivated by the potential revenue generation inherent in the skills developed. Participants who had previously been introduced to the rudiments of soap and lotion production extolled the training, describing it as the most comprehensive they had ever undergone.
The volunteering team derived significant fulfillment from the assignment, evidenced by the transformative impact of their contributions on the trainees, who demonstrated improved confidence and skills. The program’s overarching objective is to equip locals with the technical capabilities to launch microenterprises dedicated to producing quality soaps and lotions using locally sourced agricultural products. This, in turn, is expected to augment local income streams and foster community development.
This endeavor underlines the Farmer-to-Farmer Program’s profound influence in transferring technical expertise to communities on the cusp of economic development. By harnessing the skills and commitment of volunteers, socially marginalized groups are provided with the opportunity to acquire invaluable skills, expanding their economic potential and enhancing their quality of life. Winrock International is unwavering in its commitment to propagate this transformative engagement through the continuous orchestration of high-impact volunteer assignments, such as the recently concluded mission in Guinea.