Feed the Future Zimbabwe Fostering Agribusiness for Resilient Markets (FtFZ – FARM) is implementing WASH activities in 8 wards of Mutare district. The activities include optimal handwashing, toilet construction and water purification. The Activity has been emphasising that for handwashing to be effective farmers need to wash their hands with soap and clean running water. Farmers have been washing their hands after visiting the toilet using water from a tippy tap or bucket with a tap without soap. Farmers stated that the green bar soap is very expensive to procure therefore the use of running water only without soap
The Activity has moved a step further to train farmers an economical way of saving money and promoting handwashing through handwashing liquid soap making. The Activity has identified and linked the farmers to two business partners who sale ingredients for soap making who are based in Mutare. Soap making trainings have been delivered to 10 members from Arise and Shine Producer group; and 6 members from Kuwirirana Producer group in Nyangani village, Ward 16 and 10 members from Kuguta Kushanda Producer group in Masvaure village, Ward 25. The three producer groups procured a total of 7 sets soap making ingredients.. One set of soap making ingredients costs a total of US$12. Through trainings from the Activity on on the advantages of group purchases for improving income through cost sharing the Kuguta Kushanda group has gone a step further by procuring 50 x 750ml and 4 x 1 litre plastic bottles of packaging material. The group has already manufactured soap for household use and has diversified by selling excess soap to the community. They are selling 750mls container for US$1 and 1liter for US$1.5 compared to a price of $4 from the local shops. They have also engaged a designer who is designing a label bearing the company and product names, ingredients and contact details for them to improve their marketing strategy. Mapeta Bridget said, ”I have revived the use of liquid soap after a long time because of its price in shops but now I can make it on my own and readily use it any time.” For now, Kuguta Kushanda producer group is marketing their product in the local community but they intend to expand to the wards surrounding them. Handwashing with soap effectively removes germs from hands resulting in prevention of diarrhoeal illness and disease which in turn leads to increased production and productivity through decreased cash outlays from hospitalization and fewer visits to health facilities. Nutrition outcomes are also improved as nutrients have sufficient time for absorption in the body. Communities resilience and incomes are thus improved in line with the Activity goal.