Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
THE use and production of dishwashing liquid has been usually associated with urban areas but villagers in Gwanda District have embarked on the project which has proved to be a reliable source of income.
While the project was mainly introduced as a part of efforts to fight Covid-19, community members have obtained crucial skills which will ensure that they can put food on the table.
Community members in Sengezane and Bethel Villages in Ward 14 are producing dishwashing liquid with the assistance of a Non Governmental Organisation – Hand in Hand Zimbabwe. The organisation introduced the project after realising that the rural community was facing challenges in accessing detergents to wash their hands as required under the measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Villagers received training and started producing dishwashing liquid as groups. They produce for their own use and sell some to local institutions, shops and community members.
Mrs Sibonisiwe Dube from Bethel Village in Ward 14 said she was part of a group of 43 that were manufacturing detergents.
Mrs Dube said she was able to buy food and clothes for her children using profit from the venture. She said she was also able to protect her family through regular washing of hands during this Covid-19 period.
Mrs Dube said Hand in Hand Zimbabwe had initially assisted them with a garden project in 2018 and in addition to that they now had a dishwashing liquid production project. She said the livelihood projects had gone a long way in assisting villagers raise income.
Mrs Sikhanyisiwe Masuku from Bethel Village who is also a member of the same project said they were selling a 500ml bottle of dishwashing liquid for R15. She said they were trading under the name Progressive Garden. Mrs Masuku said villagers now preferred to clean their dishes using dishwashing liquid unlike before when they used soap or washing powder. She said people were also using the dishwashing liquid to put up tippy taps in their homes so that they could wash and sanitise their hands to protect their families against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mrs Masuku said the project had also helped to protect the community against outbreaks of water borne diseases as people were now observing hygiene.
Mrs Plaxedes Moyo from Sengezane Village in Ward 14 said they had come together as a group of 47 people to undertake the dishwashing liquid project.
She said they once attempted to produce dishwashing liquid but failed as they did not have appropriate training. Mrs Moyo said they received training in September with the assistance of Hand in Hand Zimbabwe. She said since they started the project they had produced 125 litres of dishwashing liquid.
Mr Gift Ndaniso Magaisa who is a civic education trainer under the Department of National Youth Service based in Guyu said he had so far trained villagers from Bethel and Sengezane Villages after he was engaged by Hand in Hand Zimbabwe.
He said the concept of using and producing dishwashing liquid was fast spreading across the community of Gwanda. He said villagers had seen that it was a viable business.
Speaking during a Global Hand Washing Day commemoration in Ward 12 Sengezane Village on Thursday Hand in Hand Zimbabwe area manager for Gwanda, Ms Unami Dube said they introduced the dishwashing liquid programme as a part of efforts to ensure that communities were self-sufficient and to assist in the fight against Covid-19. She said the project sought to ensure that rural communities had access to the dishwashing liquid which they could use to wash their hands.
She said the organisation was operating in four wards in the district. Ms Dube said other projects they had implemented included establishment of gardens under the Green Enterprise Project, beekeeping, small livestock production which include goats, rabbits, sheep and chickens among others.
“In the wake of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic we realised that we had to device a way to ensure communities had access to detergents which they could use to wash their hands. In addition to several donations of various material to fight the pandemic such as soap, sanitisers and PPEs we also saw it fit to leave communities with a long lasting solution which would also leave them with a source of income.
We also wanted to address cases of water borne diseases within the community. At first we donated the dish washing liquid to the communities but we realised that it wasn’t sustainable and we decided to train the people. We supplied them with packaging material, manufacturing material, ingredients.
The project falls under the WASH component which we added onto the projects which we had already implemented within the district. We have so far implemented the dish washing liquid project in Sengezane Village and Bethel Village,” she [email protected]