COVID-19 prevention that empowers communities
Vanua Soap is a soap manufacturing factory based in Luganville on the island of Espiritu Santo that produces local soaps made from coconut oil, tamanu, canarium almond (nangaille) and cocoa butter.
Established in 2015, Managing Director Joelle Kamata has managed to secure a contract with World Vision to produce 50,000 bars of soap which is equivalent to 7-tons of coconut oils produce and purchased locally for production.
Scheduled to commence in February 2021, the World Vision contract is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Pacific which executes a WASH Program that implements hygiene practices, awareness and distribution for communities in Efate, Santo and Tanna.
However, people in Luganville are still recovering from the devastation of Typhoon Harold in April 2020. With the growing pandemic at hand, it is also a challenge for those who had their lost jobs and are struggling to earn a living.
Melanie Timothy is a 24-year-old mother from Pamaa Island residing at Pepsi community in Luganville. The young mother who is a former employee at the Oyster Resort said because of COVID-19 the business had to close down which had left many unemployed.
With her husband also out of work and their one-year-old son, it was hard to keep afloat.
Thankfully, with the new contract between World Vision and Vanua Soap and because of the increased demand for production which required more hands to do the job, the company had employed her and other women to help in the soap manufacturing.
Melanie extends her thanks to Vanua Soap for the employment opportunity and to World Vision for the recognition it deserves.
“As the sole breadwinner of my house, I can now put more food on the table, cover for our basic needs and at times provide a little support to my extended families,” she added.
Manager Kamata thanks World Vision for being able to recognize the struggle of unemployment especially for women, the benefits of a small local business and the opportunity to make its products well-known throughout Vanuatu and abroad.
“An increase in soap production creates employment opportunities, increases demand for coconut oil from farmers and gains recognition from the Government and supporting partners, it’s a win-win situation,” she commented.
The soap and other items are going to be distributed to public transport operators, community members and inclusive hand washing stations will be set up at places where large numbers of people congregate.
Vanuatu has This work is funded by USAID and supports the governments work to prepare the population for COVID-19.