More than 1,300 women have been trained in soap production between 2020 and 2021 as a key strategy to gender empowerment and inclusion in communities in the Bono and Bono East Regions.
The training, a support programme, includes a grant of Ghc145,000.00 and marketing promotion to ensure the availability of the products in the local market.
A statement signed by Mr Benson Osei-Savio Boateng, Executive Director, BOK Africa Concern, a Berekum-based non-governmental organisation and copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the project is part of the initiative "Support Local Development Tackling Irregular Migration in Ghana."
The project is being financed by the Italian Catholic Bishops' Conference and implemented by VIS Ghana in collaboration with Salesians of Don Bosco AFW and the Catholic Dioceses of Sunyani and Techiman.
The statement said a Black Soap Warehouse would be established at Nana Owusu Fakyiwaa Soap Resource Centre at Senase with BOK Africa Concern as implementing partner, using a community-based approach to ensure local ownership and participation.
"The Warehouse will complement the existing facilities at the Centre established with the partnership of IOM Ghana, GIZ, GGC and BOK Africa Concern," the statement added.
It noted the design of the facility provided space for storing raw materials and finished products, a space for training, as well as an inclusive washroom for persons with disability and an underground water tank.
"As coordination Centre for black soap production and marketing, it will help four women cooperatives composed of almost 50 associations in the Bono and Bono East Regions," the statement said.
The Nana Fakyiwaa Soap Resource Centre would be central in coordinating black soap production associations in Berekum East Municipal, Wamfie in Dormaa East District, Dormaa-Ahenkro in Dormaa Central Municipality and Busunya in Nkoranza North District.
The warehouse would be constructed with a budget under GhC500,000.00, about 70 per cent of its estimated value, due to various contributions made by good-willed agencies and individuals.
According to the statement "the warehouse was designed by Architetti Senza Frontierre - ASF (Architects without Borders, Italy) at no cost while the Berekum East Municipal Assembly would take care of permits and documentation. The community contributes materials and communal labour and the implementation is non-profit".
"VIS Ghana and partners see the action as a pragmatic effort to support sustainable gender empowerment and local economic development to mitigate irregular migration in Ghana," the statement added.