Self-help group sets up cottage industry in Kisii

Written By: Hunja Macharia
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A self help group in Kisii County has set up a cottage industry that’s manufacturing soaps which the founders say has medicinal value.

The products have become a favourite of the residents with those who have used them saying the soap relieves skin ailments while it can also be used for domestic washing.

Soap is the main product from the industry and is said to heal skin related conditions such as sun burns, fungus, sweating, wrinkles as well as low libido in males.

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The group’s founding member Jane Akeyo says they obtained a certification of quality from Kenya Bureau of Standards last year after their products started to attract demand in the local market.

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The self help group members attended a training course at Kisii University and Kenya Industrial and Research Development (KIRD) before starting the cottage industry.

The group consists of physically challenged people and the vulnerable in the society such as orphans, widows, youths, women and men with special needs.

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Akeyo says they use locally available raw materials from horticultural, dairy produce such as avocado, onions, bananas, carrots, lemon, milk and tomatoes.

They also use eucalyptus, honey, aloe vera as raw materials to make their products.

During an exhibition at Kisii School during the International Youth Week, last month, the group’s products earned commendation from President Uhuru Kenyatta who was the chief guest.

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Venorah Moindi, an official, said the group has in place a patent that will last for 20 years to protect their rights of innovation.

Even as they prepared to enhance production and penetrate into bigger markets, Moindi expressed fears over constrains that stand on their way, she cited lack of modern machines to replace the crude implements and manual manner in which manufacturing and packaging is currently done.

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