Lard or the pig fat is crucial during saponification process where chemicals like sodium or potassium salts mix with fatty acids to form soap. Vegetable oils and animal fats are the traditional materials that are saponified.
in Northern Uganda are using pork lard as one of the raw materials for making
laundry soap to get an extra income. With the price of laundry soap increasing,
the women say the homemade soap has also helped them to meet their hygiene
41-year-old Adong Mariya is one of the women in Kamdini sub-county in Oyam
District who has seen an opportunity in making soap from pig fat or lard as an
Adong is one of the many women who were trained by BRAC to make soap from
locally available chemicals using the cold-process method. This artisan way of
making soap uses ingredients like palm kernel oil as well as animal fat like
She and other members of her village saving group were in the past buying palm
kernel oil from Masindi district but its price drastically shot. According to
Adongo, a 20-liter jerry can of palm kernel oil has more than doubled since early
January this year.
“Using palm oil became expensive for us and the profits declined. But BRAC
trainers had also trained us how to use fat from pork. It is what we are using
to make soap now” said Adongo in her native Lango language “We have a ready
market from within the village. So we are using some at home while the rest is
sold within the village to earn us some money.”
The mother of three told URN that at first, she thought that the art of making
bar soap was too complicated but said it is easy provided one knows how to mix
the chemicals with palm kernel or oil pig lard.
Adongo and her colleagues buy pig lard from pork sellers in Kamdindi and
generally Oyam district. She told URN that they were trained on how to purify it
before it can be added to other ingredients to make bar soap.
The shape of the whitish or yellowish bar soap is not even like the
factory-made ones but Adongo says it is not very different when one uses it for
washing. With the price of factory-made soap being retailed at about
eight thousand shillings, Adongo says theirs is sold at five thousand
Lard or pig fat is crucial during the saponification process where
chemicals like sodium or potassium salts mix with fatty acids to form soap. Vegetable
and animal fats
are the traditional materials that
are saponified. The mixture is then stored in a cool place to allow it to cure
before it is ready for use.
BRAC Uganda has trained hundreds of women in Nwoya, Oyam, and Gulu as part of
the Village Savings Loan Associations (VSLA). The idea is that persons being
helped to get out of extreme poverty should live on handouts but be supported
with a skill from which they can generate income. There are 84 VSLA groups
trained by BRAC to make soap as income-generating ventures for mainly women.
Shammah Arinaitwe, a Technical Specialist with BRAC Uganda, told URN that
soap-making was chosen to ensure that women continue earning even during the
times when they are not busy in the garden.
that we have given a lot of farm enterprises that require someone to continue
farming. But with continuous climate change, we had to find out how to encourage
and boost off-farm enterprises,” Arinaitwe “To that end, we looked for
enterprises that people can do but have the market in the village. So groups have
been able to make soap”
//Cue in” Groups have been
Cue Out....materials can be.//
While pig lard makes good soap even compared to using palm kernel oil, someone
could develop goose pimples if told that their bar soap contains pig fat. But
Arinaitwe says the cultural and religious concerns aside, the women soap makers
have found lard cheaper.
“I will give an example, one of the ingredients for making soap is palm kernel
oil but in Uganda, we produce not enough. Most are sourced from Kasese and a lot
of it is imported from Congo. So what does that mean? From the economic point
of view, it will increase the price. So what communities have done is to look
out for available raw material,” she explained.
With the high cost of palm kernel oil derivatives used in making soap,
Arinaitwe says pork lard has become a derivative of choice for women soap
makers like Mariya Adongo.
“So what the groups have done is to use that fat to make soap. They tried
out how it would go and they found that it makes good soap for them. So
they go and collect the fat and they clean it to use it as an oil base for making
soap,” Said Arinaitwe.
//Cue in” And the soap is good...
Out....the profit for the groups is higher.//
Mariya Adongo told URN that she has been making soap for over a year now and it
has made her village Loan Savings Association continue operating.
Her group is one of the many that have been
registered in Oyam to benefit from the Parish Development Model funds from the