The Gulu Disabled Persons Union in Uganda (GDPU) and The Advocacy Project are seeking $4,000 for a 5-month soap-making start-up in Gulu. Freeman, seen left in the top photo, will train 5 GDPU members to produce 500 liters of Clean Wash soap, to be given to GDPU families and primary schools. Remaining soap will be sold and re-invested in the business. The start-up will teach skills, earn money for families living with disability, build a business and improve hygiene at a time of medical crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated Ugandans with a disability by impeding their limited mobility and preventing them from working. This has pushed them deeper into poverty and reduced their ability to purchase essential foodstuffs. The pandemic also underscores the importance of hand-washing, which is particularly difficult for people whose mobility is limited and who lack access to water. At the same time, the crisis has also opened up new needs and opportunities. Clean Wash is a response.
GDPU's Clean Wash project will be managed by Patrick from GDPU, with help from Wilson, an AP Fellow in Washington. They will engage Freeman, a soap-maker and GDPU member (photo), to train 5 GDPU members to make at least 500 liters of soap this year. Some of the soap will be given to GDPU members and 4 primary schools which partner with GDPU to install accessible toilets, together with instructions in hand-washing. The remaining soap will be sold by GDPU members at local stores and to NGOs.
Clean Wash will produce vital long-term benefits for Ugandans in Gulu. First, it will tap the talents of persons with disability who are among the most marginalized in society. Second it will provide a living for the trainers and their families. Third, it will improve personal hygiene. Finally, it will strengthen GDPU's pioneering WASH program in primary schools (see photo, video). Once the quality of soap is assured, GDPU will seek a contract with the Gulu government to supply more schools.