Using soap is the simplest way of preventing the spread, contracting and infection of diseases. This luxury is only available and affordable in developed nations. Lack of access to clean water, poor sanitation and hygiene contribute to two leading causes of high child mortality in the poorest countries: pneumonia and diarrhea. The simple practice of washing hands with soap reduces this risk by 50 percent.

Because so many people who live in these countries do so on a dollar a day, soap is a luxury rather than a necessity. This leads to a higher risk of illnesses that might have been prevented by simple hygiene like washing hands. Because of its relatively high cost within many economies, Clean the World reports that 35 percent of health care facilities in impoverished countries lack soap.

Shawn Seipler, founder of Clean the World, learned that most of the barely used hotel soap bars ended up in landfills after guests check out. According to the Global Soap Project, the hotel industry in the U.S., which uses a third of the global soap supply, throws away an astonishing 2.6 million bars of soap on a daily basis.

Seipler chose to change this by recycling soap hotels were throwing away. He has dedicated his time and effort to recycling soap and sending it to developing countries for continued use. “The recycling, which ends up costing hotels just 75 cents per room a month, allows leftover soap, body wash, shampoo and conditioner to be melted down, sterilized and formed into new soap that is sent all over the world.” Since Clean the World began in 2009, the organization has delivered 40 million bars of soap to more than 115 countries.

In 2015, Clean the World partnered with the Global Soap Project to increase production, delivery and outreach. Since the partnership formation, in addition to joining forces with contributions from 4,000-plus hotels, they have delivered 24 million bars of soap to 99 countries.

Seipler focuses his recycling efforts on bringing soap to schools within developing countries. The result of his recycling efforts might be an additional 1.9 billion school days. Clean the World is also working to provide soap to health care facilities and communities.

It is hopeful that the impact from the above projects will help improve not only health, but the overall quality of life in undeveloped nations.

Taylor Elgarten

Photo: Flickr

Recycled Soap for Developing Countries
Every day the hotel industry tosses out minimally used bars and bottles of soap that end up wastefully filling landfills. In developing countries, however, soap is a luxury that is frequently inaccessible and unaffordable. With the help of the Sundara organization, recycled soap for developing countries has been made useful. By collecting thrown out soap and sanitizing it, redistribution is carried out to impoverished communities that suffer from illness due to lack of proper hygienic care.

For the “bottom billion” of the world who live under one dollar a day, funds are prioritized toward food and water with no money left over to buy sanitary goods. In Uganda, for example, the cost of soap falls between 20 and 50 cents, forcing people to forego this “most basic preventable healthcare”. It is because of poverty that people within these communities that cannot afford soap are made vulnerable to disease and sickness, often leading to death.

The living conditions for these individuals are typically a slum-like environment with inefficient trash collection and health care. Environments such as this create a breeding ground for diseases caused by a lack of proper hygienic care. The CDC reports that 1.8 million children die annually due to diarrhea and pneumonia, both of which can be prevented with regular hand washing. By providing recycled soap for developing countries, preventable diseases such as these can be reduced.

The Sundara organization has recognized the need for soap and a purpose for recycling it. Collectively they have created a program that collects thrown out hotel soap and refurbishes them so they are clean and safely reusable. In addition to providing necessary soap products, they work toward empowering individuals of impoverished communities to become hygiene ambassadors within their own community. By equipping these individuals with basic hygiene education, communities receive further health education and women, specifically, are given employment by collectively recycling soap and educating others.

As a result of recycling soap, death and disease are prevented, communities are empowered, waste is saved and employment opportunities are provided. Since Sundara’s implementation of recycling soap, 45,600 kg of wasted soap has been salvaged, 132,000 bars of soap have been made, 3,000 hygienic care lessons have been taught, 20,000 lives, 16,000 children and 61 schools have benefited.

Efforts have been focused within India, Uganda and Myanmar. In Mumbai, India, three women have received the proper training to recycle soap and 26 women have been implemented as hygiene ambassadors. Together, these women help repurpose and deliver soap to medical centers and vulnerable communities such as the Kalwa slums. Similarly, Uganda has been able to employ victims of domestic violence and Myanmar distributes recycled soap to orphanages, juvenile detention centers and communities affected by leprosy.

Soap is the fundamental necessity for maintaining proper hygiene, though many communities lack the accessibility to such products. By helping expand the message for the importance of recycled soap for developing countries, a healthy and hopeful future for vulnerable communities stricken with preventable diseases could be greatly supported.

Amy Williams

Photo: Flickr

HealthHygiene-related illnesses cause more than 1.8 million deaths worldwide and the Global Soap Project (GSP) is taking a stand to reduce this number by taking advantage of the 2.6 million bars of soap are thrown away in hotels daily.

Founder Derreck Kayongo was inspired to provide hope to refugees around the world with his own experience as a refugee when he fled a civil war in Uganda for the U.S. at age ten.” Ask any refugee anywhere in the world, they’ll tell you that they lose dignity right off the bat,”  Kayongo stated in a passionate talk hosted by Keppler Speakers.

Since its inception in 2009, GSP has been improving the lives of people in 32 countries by distributing clean soap and educating communities on hygiene. The life-saving organization targets victims of disaster, refugees, the homeless and mothers and children living in extreme poverty. The goal? Making an impact on global health.

The Global Soap Project has implemented educational programs providing access to information otherwise unattainable, such as how and when to use soap and its importance to sanitation, hygiene and long-term health. The GSP and its partner, Clean the World, collects unused soap from hundreds of hotels that have united with the organization.

Then, GSP recycles and redistributes them, with help from organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Partners in Health and CARE.

The organization has created a micro-loan program that offers financial and training support to local, small-scale soap makers. To support this initiative, hotels send boxes of unused soap to GSP, where they are recycled, inspected and given to NGO’s for shipment to affiliations in impoverished areas.

NGO’s are not charged for the provided soap. After distribution, NGO partners relay reports of successful dispersion and educational programs. In Kenya, the Global Soap Project has had a sizable impact. The organization distributed soap to more than 300 families in Lindi, located within one of the largest slums in Africa. GSP also allocated soap to 1,320 students in Kenya.

According to the GSP, a head teacher from a receiving school, commented on the organization’s success and expressed gratefulness. He stated, “Most of my kids know how to use soap after toilet, after eating, after playing, after classes, and you will find them with soap in their hands and in school compound. So thank you HHRD and GSP for this so unique gift, because it has brought a big impact in our school.”

Within the international community, world health has been a topic of concern. The World Bank has worked with organizations such as WHO and UNICEF gathering the most recent information about hygiene in developing and impoverished areas.

According to the World Bank, hygiene and hand washing have an immense impact on the quality of health and the ability to avoid deadly sicknesses like diarrhea and pneumonia. With over 4 billion cases of diarrhea per year, about 1.6 million of those are found in children under the age of five.

The GSP’s ideals are solidified by the World Bank, as it is suggested that, “public health promotion and education strategies are needed to change behaviors.” School health programs are imperative in ensuring that students have sanitation standards that can be translated into community principals.

The organization promotes involvement by accepting donations and volunteers and makes it easy for hotels to contribute. It has grown exponentially, expanding as a global leader in health promotion and implementation and continues to serve around the world. “Our soap doesn’t just mean health,” Kayongo says, “it means hope.”

Kimber Kraus

Photo: Flickr


Global Soap Project Brings Hygeine to Those in Need
The Global Soap Project, an innovative non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia, recognizes the importance of good hygiene – and is using that to help poverty-stricken communities around the world stay clean.

Recognizing how many bars of soap North American hotel chains distribute, and how many of those go to waste each year, the Global Soap Project works to combine recycling with global health. The organization collects bars of soap from hotels that would otherwise be thrown away, sanitizes the used bar, and re-purposes this into new soap that is then distributed “to vulnerable populations around the world such as refugees, orphans, and disaster victims.”

The organization states that nearly two million used bars of soap are left in hotel rooms throughout North America every day, and have more than 1,100 participating hotels in the program. Although they do not accept soap from individuals and families, the Global Soap Project says that they have given out over one million bars of soap in over 29 countries since 2009, while at the same time keeping 250,000 pounds of soap out of American landfills.

More importantly, the Global Soap Project acknowledges that the use of soap can prevent death due to diarrhea and upper respiratory illnesses by up to 40 percent and that 1.4 million deaths can be prevented each year by washing hands with soap. Children are the main benefactor in the organization’s mission, as the leading cause of preventable deaths in African children is lack of sanitation and clean drinking water.

The Global Soap Project plans to deliver nearly two million bars of soap to communities in need throughout the world in 2013.

Christina Kindlon

Source: Global Soap Project