This initiative was started by a small group of people who are concerned about COVID-19 in Cameroon. As one step to take, they decided to work with others as much as possible to get soap to as many people as possible. The overall project started in March and will continue as long as possible/necessary. We have successfully piloted the project in Yaoundé and Bamenda in 4 neighbourhoods, and will be continuing in the weeks to come.
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The focus in this initiative is soap and handwashing. We want to get good information and support for women and communities in all parts of Cameroon/Cameroun (area code 237).
We know that there are many other needs in 237 – such as food, good information sharing, assisting health care workers and health care services, good governance, and keeping supply chains operational. We are not downplaying these other needs – this initiative is just focused on slowing the spread of COVID19 through handwashing with soap.
We are not a funding organization, so please do not ask us for funding.
What we are doing is connecting people - people who are making soap, people who need soap, people who have money to contribute, and people who have information - in order to get soap and good information to as many people as possible in Cameroon.
Ideally the soap is good quality soap made by local women’s groups and is distributed through local authorities such as Quarterheads and Councillors.
There are several ways you can assist or become involved.
#SoapFor237 has a set of interconnected goals about soap, water, community connections, and supporting women.
Every Quarterhead/councillor/neighbourhood leader has enough soap/savon to regularly ensure that everyone in their quarter has savon.
Every quarter has at least one person who is championing the importance of handwashing with soap to reduce COVID-19 transmission.
Openness about COVID-19. By maintaining good relationships and teamwork, we will work towards elimination of stigma and the sharing of mis-information about COVID-19.
Everyone in the country has access to water for handwashing.
People share empty bottles to carry handwashing water.
People share bottles of water with others.
There will be over 100 women's groups who are making soap in each of the 10 regions (over 1000 groups in the country), and there is a systematic way to buy soap from them.
These are the principles that we want to keep in mind as we try to do this work.
We cannot do everything, so let us do what we can - we are focusing on soap and handwashing.
Provide the best possible available quality soaps - so that people will want to use them.
Support women and women's groups by purchasing soap from them, and finding ways to train them in making soap. Women need livelihoods and money to support their families and communities.
We Support (give priority to) locally sourced and produced soap.
We also work with city councils, governors office, SDO, as well as non-governmental and community organizations to show we are working collaboratively.
Be organized and efficient. Try not to waste resources - time, money, materials.
Relationships in our initiative are very important. We take care of each other. We will try not to waste time on arguing; we listen well to each other; we make suggestions and are action oriented. We assume the best of each person. During this time, we are all stressed and traumatized. If someone makes a suggestion, try to hear as a suggestion for improvement, not as criticism AND try to help that person feel better.
We strive to be positive and educate ourselves and others as much as we can.
Use this experience to build solidarity and to come through it stronger. This difficult period will end, and our actions now can help us to come through better.
What can you do?
Work with one Quarter or neighbourhood
Be a point person for one quarter somewhere in the country and help us organize in that quarter. If you have a quarter you personally know and are connected to, that is best.
If you or your organization would like to assist a quarter or neighbourhood - read these guidelines:
Provide funds to support getting soap to one or more quarters
Every contribution counts, so whatever you can provide is helpful. We will add it together with other funds.
Currently it is about $200 to $500 or more to supply the houses in one quarter, based on a cost of about 300 CFA per block of soap and approximately 120 houses.
Of course, the actual cost for a quarter it depends on the size of the quarter and other factors. We will pool funds provided to ensure that everyone in a quarter receives soap.
You might want to consider working as a group to raise the funds to support one quarter.
Note: The Quarterheads and the volunteers involved are not being paid.
If you would like to raise or provide funds, read this:
Identify women's organizations
You can help identify women's organizations that are making soap and put us in touch with them. Provide the contact information, what they can produce, and so on.
Help with the project organization
We need assistance with developing materials, social media, keeping track of reports, and many other administrative tasks.
You can encourage soap manufacturers and governments to donate soap to local authorities.
Get in touch with us
Please contact us if you...
Would like to raise or provide funds
Know a women's organization that is making soap
Would like to help with project organization
Have soap to donate
Can advocate with a government
Have any questions or general inquiries