This is may not look much, but it’s a significant photo.
To our knowledge, these are the first 22g tablets of soap ever to be produced in Zambia. They will be produced by the only large scale hand soap manufacturer in Zambia – Trade Kings. This new, small, low-cost pack will transform access to soap for the poor in Zambia; across the developing world, those on the lowest incomes prefer to buy products in small sizes as they need them. Importantly for us, this will also replace the imported soap we currently have to use in Kit Yamoyo. This will make Kit Yamoyo’s components 100% Zambian, and bring the cost of the kit down.
Our conversation with Trade Kings about the local production of small bars of soap started in Jun-13 but it’s taken all this time for the conditions to come right for Trade Kings to start manufacture. We are very grateful to the senior staff at Trade Kings for considering our call for small soap and now making it a reality.
This is quite a transformation. Just 4 years ago, when we were setting up for the ColaLife Trial, the only locally produced component of Kit Yamoyo was ORS (Oral Rehydration Salts) and that was in 1 litre sachets. Now we have: locally produced 200 mL sachets of ORS, locally produced Zinc in the right format – and now locally produced soap in the right size.
Local production does a lot more than benefit the local economy. It makes the production of Kit Yamoyo much more resilient. When components are imported it creates time lags, uncertainty and risk. It increases prices, increases market response times and reduces the shelf life of the finished product. When importing, one has to import significant quantities and lead times can be several months. This means importers have to hedge against exchange rate change. Slow delivery fulfillment, transport bottlenecks and import procedures all increase the risk of medicines nearing their expiry date before they can be sold. All these things mitigate against a constant supply and the lowest possible cost.