Somalia’s first youth start-up soap factory opens in Kismayo

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(ERGO) – A youth-run soap factory, the first of its kind, opened this month in Kismayo’sMidnimoneighbourhood giving some longed for job opportunities to IDPs, refugee returnees, and local youth.

Wanaagsoap factory opened on 19 August by five youth, with financial support from Qatari Silatech agency in cooperation with the American Refugee Committee (ARC).

Hassan Adan Abdi, the manager, told Radio Ergo that the plant is the first of its kind in Somalia and has already sold 120 cartons of soap.

“We are producing 37 cartons a day and we sell each carton at $8.5. This is the first soap plant to be set up in Somalia. Traders usually import soap from abroad,” said Hassan.

Hassan, who heads a seven-member family and is from the local community, was unemployed prior to the start-up.

With a seed capital of $7,250, Hassan his four partners now employ 12 young people from Kismayo. Five of the employees are IDPs, three are returnees from Dadaab refugee camp, and four are local.

Shueyb Barre Ibrahim returned to Kismayofrom Dadaab and started off pushing a wheelbarrow all day to earn a few shillings.  He now has a job at the soap factory cleaning the machinery and equipment used to mix the soap ingredients. He earns $150 a month.

“I am getting a regular salary so I am able to buy food for my family without worry. Shop owners can now trust me and give me items on credit. I tell them I work at the factory so please lend me foodstuff for my family,” said Shueyb.

Abdullahi Hassan Ali, head of ARC Investment in Kismayo, said the soap factory proposal was good and complied with their conditions for support. ARC seeks to support entrepreneurs aged between 18 to 35.

 

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