Team Presentations at the CEPROCAL Center in Nebaj
The first concrete evidence of soap-like substance is dated around 2800 BC., the first soap makers were Babylonians, Mesopotamians, Egyptians, as well as the ancient Greeks and Romans. While volunteer Robert Spencer does not have that many years of experience he does have sixteen years of experience in making cold-process goat milk soap, shampoo, and lotion. And has done multiple trainings in Myanmar, Haiti, and Guatemala.
The overall goal of this project was to provide economic opportunities for women in small-scale production of value-added agriculture products (oils, animal byproducts, herbs, vegetables, and fruits), along with goat milk in making skin care products including soap, shampoo, and lotion in rural areas of Guatemala. This project host was CEPROCAL who collaborated with Save the Children Foundation, and the first week of training was conducted in Nebaj (El Quiche Department) at the local CEPROCAL office. Students for this class were Save the Children field officers and technicians who would later be responsible for going out into their respective communities and train clientele.
During these four days of training agriculture products used included: goat milk, vegetable oils, lard avocado, tomato, coffee grounds, aloe vera, and flower petals. One of the objectives of this project was to utilize as many readily available agriculture products as possible while using the cold-process for making soaps. The only heat involved was a small propane stove to melt the lard and solid oils (cocoa oil), and the chemical process between the sodium hydroxide, oils, and liquids.
Photos in this blog will verify the strategy worked. Spencer said it was inspiring to watch the trainees learn and implement the process, then take it further to packaging, labeling, and presenting in team competitions
The second week of training was conducted in Cunen (El Quiche Department). Our goals and objectives, and training agenda were very similar to the first week. Trainees in Cunen were also associated with Save the Children along with a few of the local population. The ingredients used were the same with additional botanical products specifically beneficial to skin and hair. Trainees in Cunen also readily adapted to the training and did outstanding jobs of the packaging, labeling, and presenting in competitive teams.
Quantitative outcomes for combined trainings were as follows:
o 31 men & women trained at these two locations, all were adult, 18 were females, 13 males
o 80% increase in knowledge regarding production of soap, shampoo, and lotion
o 65 % plan to implement production & marketing of soap, shampoo, and lotion
o 100% will train others on all aspects associated with production and marketing of soap, shampoo, and lotion
Soap Mold (Left) and Packaging (Right)
This was the first time for Spencer to experience using unrefined animal lard and it worked out just fine. The training also utilized lard so the people could compare, and it too worked out just fine. Every time Spencer does this in rudimentary conditions he is always impressed with how well everything works out, and really enjoys working with people in various countries.