Gouem Soulymane of the SMOM association returned from Italy to his village in Boussouma in Burkina Faso to monitor and support socio-economic development activities. For several years, the processing of shea tree nuts and tomatoes has provided more than 100 women with additional income. The group of women soap makers work in the new and expansive soap shop. The development and success of the project has led, in recent years, to produce, and to a large extent export, over 100,000 soap bars obtained from the transformation of shea butter.
The construction of a real soap factory, with distinct environments for each working phase, has made it possible to improve the working conditions and the quality of the products. The use of plastic in the packaging of soaps is being replaced, but finding paper is not easy in an African village.
The construction of the 'Maison du Karité' allows 45 women to produce Shea Butter in adequate hygienic conditions. Both of the last two constructions were built thanks to the financial contribution of the 'Trafiltubi company' which for years has supported the 'Femmes Activesde Boussouma' association. The Boussouma experience is supported and studied by the Burkinabé government development bodies. With the earnings from the sale of 2020 soaps, steps are being taken to build a water tank and canalization that will allow for water directly to the production center and to be able to cultivate 1 hectare of land owned by the center.
Production activities began in 2010 and promote social and economic emancipation, through the acquisition of new skills and work. All the products made in this remote village, devoid of roads and electricity, are marketed in the capital Ouagadougou or exported to Europe. In just a few years, this intervention has become an example of sustainable development, a destination for government missions, groups of women for training, NGOs, the subject of television reports and the direct interest of the President of the Republic of Burkina Faso who wanted to finance the renovation. of the roof collapsed due to a typhoon.
New soap factory interior
The activities carried out in Boussouma have shown that even in extreme environmental and social conditions, the informal subsistence economy of the South Saharan villages can be overcome by enhancing the human and environmental resources present. During 2020, the association exported 2 tons of handmade soaps, 15,000 packs of
tomato sauce and 200 kg of Shea Butter. During the year, direct income was generated for over 100 women and indirect income for another 200 families supplying raw materials. The social emancipation acquired with work skills has improved their quality of life. The economic resources deriving from the sale of Shea nut derivatives in Italy allows them to have additional resources for their family budget and for future planned structural associative investments. The next objectives will be: the supply to the center of 60,000 bottles for the packaging of the tomato sauce and also to bring the final packaging of the Shea butter to the center. It will not be easy to ship Shea Butter already packaged in the final packaging due to the thermal and mechanical dangers of long transport. From the initial Burkinabé dirt roads to air flights with stopovers at African airports
Naturally, the women of the association thank the Italian volunteers and those who market their products, allowing them to have an income, and increasing their resilience capacity in an area poor in environmental resources, where they often have to raise their children in the absence of an expatriate or absent male parenting figure.