This past week, Hilla Benzaken, the regional coordinator of the Andean region of Ecuador, accompanied the women’s association of Pulingui, Riobamba in a soap-making workshop. The idea came about after summer interns from Social Entrepreneur Corps conducted a needs analysis with eight of the coordinators of the association. The women mentioned that they were looking for new and improved ways to finance their organization’s overhead costs. After spending some time with the ladies and introducing the idea of skill mapping, we discovered that one of the women, Elvira Minarcoja, knew how to make homemade soap. The idea took off from there with unanimous support.

The women’s association is a group of 87 women who meet on rotation every Monday to support each other with various social and cultural projects. The summer interns donated $50 of funding to help propel this idea. This soap workshop, which demonstrated how to make natural bar soap, was the second following a liquid soap workshop in the fall. The women were so enthusiastic about the workshops that immediately after they started discussing other great products they could make for home use and for sale. Next up- Shampoo!