McLane Harrington (Zimbabwe)

McLane graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in International Relations and Music Performance and is currently a student at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy pursuing a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy. Her studies at Fletcher center on human security, community-driven development and international power asymmetries. After graduating from college in Portland, OR she worked at a classical music radio station, gaining experience working in the non-profit sector for an international service. She also had the opportunity to work for two international organizations –MercyCorps and World Affairs Council –before beginning at Fletcher. As co-editor in chief of Fletcher's human security journal, McLane works with her team to promote different individual voices and experiences on a range of topics from development and human rights to conflict resolution.



Conception to Implementation

08 Aug

Over the course of the past month, I have continued working here in Harare with Constance and Dickson to finalize plans for WAP’s soap-making project: Soap for Hope. Since this is WAP’s first income-generation program, there has been a lot for us to learn and a lot of details to sort out to make sure the pilot project is a success.

I feel lucky to be taking part firsthand in the process of creating such an innovative economic empowerment project, from conceptualization, to planning and fundraising, to implementation. I know more now about liquid dish soap and how it’s made then I would have ever thought possible!

Everyone needs soap, and many products that are imported from surrounding countries are too expensive for Zimbabwean households. If WAP’s “Clean Girl” soap can be sold at a competitive price, it will likely be quite successful since demand is so high for these types of products.

A selection of some of the common mass produced local soap products

We want to make sure the “Clean Girl” soap packaging and labeling is high quality to make the product stand out and be desirable to consumers. This will help with marketing, as a unique product will be easy for people to remember.

WAP will be working with Mr. Paul, a local soap manufacturer here in Harare. I recently had a meeting with him to learn more about his experience and get his thoughts on our proposal. He has been working in this industry since 1989. He worked in South Africa from 1995-2002, and in 2002 he started his own company here in Harare called Egoboost. He has vast experience working with chemicals and will be a great resource for WAP during this process.

Meeting with Mr. Paul

The group of girls involved in Soap for Hope will be divided into teams so that they can all learn skills and be involved in all aspects of the project. Some will be working on marketing and distribution, others will help with bookkeeping and invoices, and others will assist with management.

I have been lucky to meet and interact with the girls from Epworth who will be participating in this project and I know that they are going to do an amazing job and learn so much. They are all quite motivated and have formed a tight community within their club. The last time we visited them, one of the members actually read us the minutes from their last meeting in which they designated roles for some of the girls: co-chair, secretary, photographer, outreach coordinator to name a few. They meet twice a week, and have begun traveling to a nearby park to play netball together. They also have a dance team – made possible from a small music speaker donated by their Ambassador Trish – and they hope to be able to compete and perform locally someday soon.

Epworth club members Rudo, Monica, Kezia, Emily and Praise with their Ambassador
WAP’s Ambassador in Epworth, Trish Makanhiwa
The Epworth dance group

I will be very excited to see how this program progresses and grows once the pilot project starts – I believe the combination of skill-building, community outreach, economic empowerment and teamwork will be very valuable for all of the girls involved and the local community can also benefit from having a high quality affordable product on the market.

If you would like to donate to the project, you can visit our Global Giving page here. **From August 12-16, all donations up to $50 will be matched 50% so that is a great opportunity to stretch your dollars a little farther!

Posted By McLane Harrington (Zimbabwe)

Posted Aug 8th, 2019

2 Comments

  • Sam Nass

    August 8, 2019

     

    I’m happy to hear that your soap-making program is getting off to a good start. Keep going!

  • Iain Guest

    August 11, 2019

     

    This is just a great blog! It shows that there is so much MORE to making soap than the technical stuff. Working together in teams will bring out leadership skills and create deeper friendships. It’s also great that the girls have started to discuss it together and decide on roles. Let’s make this happen!

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