Jatropha for soap making (part of Sinsinbéré project, Finnida)
Training rural women in the production of different types of soap using Jatropha.

The Sinsibere project works with womens' groups to help them develop alternative income generating activities to replace cutting and sale of wood, which has a devastating effect on the environment, particularly in the project zone around Bamako. The project assists womens groups, building capacity for micro-credit scheme management and providing training in various types of small business activity (see link to Gender/Energy/Environment department). One of the activities promoted has been use of Jatropha to make soap.

Traditionally soap has been made from jatropha seeds. First, the shells are removed from the seeds. Then the cleaned white seeds are pounded in a mortar, then mixed with water and heated while stirring. After cooling, the soap is moulded balls for use or sale. The soap is popular, due to its cleansing and excellent dermatological properties. It is often used to treat minor skin problems, especially on children.

Jatropha seed on the bush (left); Jatropha bush used in living hedge to protect garden (centre & right).

Jatropha seed in its raw state (green), dehusked (black) and peeled (white) (left); women prepare the seed (centre); women grind the seed for use in soap making (right). Women mix the soap ingredients together before casting & drying (below left). White soap is made from the peeled seeds (below centre); brown soap can be made from jatropha sediment after pressing of the seed (below right).