First the soap, then the school.
Health care, agroecology and forest protection in Uganda
Loredana Sorg, Programme Officer
And what else do you need for a good liquid soap?
Emmanuel Kibubuka, a long-term employee of Biovision's partner organisation Prometra, looks around and places two yellow water canisters next to the big bucket. The men and women from Bujenge, a village in Uganda's Gomba district, list the ingredients that Emmanuel showed them in the shade of a large tree. After most of the ingredients like sulphur, soda or urea have been mentioned, Emmanuel begins to sprinkle the various powders into the bucket one by one and mix them with the right amount of water.
Since mid-2018, Emmanuel Kibubuka has regularly visited various villages in the vicinity of the Mpigi Forest School and has been trying to get younger residents interested in soap making - and finally in the forest school.
Emmanuel Kibubuka and his team colleagues continue to be involved in the training of traditional healers at the Mpigi Forest School itself. The young women and men from Bujenge will also be attending the forest school sometime in the future, but for the time being the main thing is to get them excited about the activities of the village groups.
The interest is great, new faces appear at every meeting. It soon became clear that the older generation would feel disadvantaged if only young people were admitted to the workshops. That's why everyone can take part now. While some are equally interested in the various medicinal plants that were the focus of the first part of the meeting, others concentrate specifically on the practical demonstration of the art of soap. In the future they would like to produce them themselves and sell them in the neighbourhood.
"At first glance, soap production and Prometra's commitment to traditional medicine and environmental protection do not have much in common," Emmanuel admits. But on the second it becomes obvious: "With the soap they are improving hygiene and also earn a small income by selling their products. This, raises their interest in the group and ultimately in the forest school. There they can train further in entrepreneurial activities and learn from the older healers. Prometra hopes to win over the young generation to their cause and at the same time get them out of the betting rooms and the associated downward spiral.