Ondo state is one of the Southern States in Nigeria responsible for 60% of Cocoa produce in Nigeria.
Cocoa Bean is the third-largest export from Nigeria after crude petroleum and petroleum gas. Even though it only represents about 2% of the nation’s exports.
Imafon Community is one of those communities blessed with Cocoa Plantations. Cocoa is one of the community’s means of livelihood. Where cocoa is processed and removed from the Cocoa pod husk, the pod is jettisoned and left to waste. We empower rural communities to be self-sufficient through transforming their local waste into value and cocoa pod husk is one of such waste in Imafon Community.
Imafon community and other rural communities have struggled to put in place the strategies and institutions that can help build local assets and create wealth that stays local.
Looking into how the women and girls can earn a sustainable livelihood through cocoa pod, we decided to empower the community women and girls on how to transform the Cocoa pod husk seen as waste into African Black soap. So far we have trained 25 women on how to makes soaps from the husk. During the training, they are also taught how to market these products that will not only help the participants earn but also give them an entrepreneurial spirit that will be passed onto other girls and women from different communities. This is a growing process and we are hopeful that we can create more opportunities from this for women in communities. We are also looking into empowering our women on how to make shampoos and body lotion from the same material.
If recognized and well managed, women and girls would have the ability to contribute to the overall economic growth in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. It is true that rural areas are marginalized but they can responsibly make provision for the nation with different valuable goods such as healthy and affordable food, different products from nature, different types of renewable energy, forest produce, spaces for recreational purposes etc.
Our Vision for this project is to see a group of Women and girls sustainably able to cater for their families and help with the needs of the community through “Cocoa Pod to Black Soap” Women Cooperatives while also becoming leaders for sustainability in their communities.
Together we can create various approaches to develop rural areas to build multiple forms of sustainable wealth that will serve the good of a larger audience that will also create a highly driven opportunity for poor individuals, households and even other neighboring communities everywhere.