With up to 80% of communicable diseases spread by touch alone, it is no surprise each year there are 1.7 billion cases of diarrheal disease globally. Among children under 5 years old, diarrhea is second to pneumonia as the leading cause of death, with both diseases taking nearly 1.7 million lives.
Health experts agree that diarrhea death alone could be reduced by as much as 40%, simply by washing hands with soap. Unfortunately, economic factors and lack of education in developing nations often lead to improper sanitation and hygiene practices.
In line with the Foothold’s vision of sustainability and cultural relevance, Foothold has been researching micro-solutions to this problem. In December, Cherie Catron traveled along with our Kenyan director, Charity Kiriinya to Burundi over the Christmas break this past year to learn more about their local soap-making programs. Since then Charity has been hard at work preparing a sustainable soap program to give children free soap while at the same time providing employment to women in need.
In June 2017, we plan to launch in Kenya a soap-making shop using only locally available resources. While a portion of the soap will be donated to school children, additional soap will be sold in the local markets and shops to sustain the project and provide employment to these local women.