So Others Are Protected (SOAP) is a self-empowerment initiative solving issues surrounding sanitation and the spread of disease in the under-resourced world. Through training communities to recycle previously discarded soap from luxury hotels, we create an immediate positive health impact and provide sustainable sources of sanitation in communities where deficiencies exist. We use this platform to promote sanitation, health education, emphasize community capacity building and provide alternative livelihoods for at-risk women and girls.
Diarrhea and respiratory infections remain leading killers of young children in the developing world and claim approximately 1.8 million young lives each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that with proper sanitation and handwashing, those cases could be cut by 50%; that is our goal.
Our goal is to ensure that once people receive soap, they have access to it for the rest of their lives. This means working together to create an understanding as to how to use it, why to use it, and why it is worth acquiring from local sources long-term. We work to create an immediate and sustainable positive health impact while supporting local economies. Additionally, we specifically train and empower young women to become peer educators and community health leaders. To date, we have 14 community partners, 13 hotel partners and have together produced over 50,000 bars of recycled soap.
SOAP is not designed as aid, but rather as a self-empowerment initiative. It functions on the donation of used, previously discarded soap from our luxury hotel partners that are then transported to partner communities. Trained community members later recycle these shards through a process of cleaning, melting and reshaping into new bars of soap.
We base our curricula and interventions on scientific studies and data released by local healthcare facilities, Health Ministries, and other non-governmental organizations. We measure our progress based on the subsequential and statistical decrease in reported cases of diarrhea and acute respiratory infections (as well as reduced incidences of other infections) in children under the age of five. As new studies emerge, we adjust our intervention methods and continue to measure our numbers up against those reported to and by local healthcare providers.
Quite simply, we are working to reduce waste and save lives, one bar of soap at a time.