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Ever wondered what happens to that soap bar in your hotel room you only use once?

We put it in the hands of someone who needs it!

The mission of the Global Soap – Europe is to bring hope through soap. We provide the simple tool of soap to people who find themselves at risk of contracting life-threatening illnesses due to poor sanitary conditions and inadequate hygiene practices.

Based in Rome, Italy, we are an Italian nonprofit (ONLUS–D. Lgs. 460/97, art. 10) working with partner hotels throughout Europe to repurpose soap waste that they would otherwise send to landfills. We facilitate a process by which the soap is repurposed into brand-new bars, and distributed to those in need through hygiene programming carried out by NGO partners.

Partnered with the United States Mission to the UN Food Agencies, the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot and several major hotel chains, we at GSE are stepping up our efforts to bring the simple tool of better health and hygiene to more people in need globally.

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Radisson Blu es. Hotel

Radisson Blu es. Hotel

Sponsoring Partner

Radisson Blu es. Hotel Rome is a sponsoring partner. Management generously donates use of its conference rooms and other spaces for fundraisers and awareness-raising events that we organize. Thank you Radisson Blu es. Hotel!

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Intercontinental De La Ville Roma was one of the first hotels to join the Europe project in 2011. Intercontinental continues to donate soap partially used by its clientele to help keep our supply to the repurposing center  going strong. They are doing their part to bring health and hope to people in need all over the world. Thanks Intercontinental De La Ville Roma!

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Sofitel Villa Borghese

Sofitel Villa Borghese

Hotel Partner

Sofitel Rome – Villa Borghese was one of the first hotels to join the Europe project in 2011. Sofitel continues to donate soap partially used by its clientele to help keep our supply to the repurposing center  going strong. They are doing their part to bring health and hope to people in need all over the world. Thanks Sofitel Villa Borghese!

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Boscolo Aleph

Boscolo Aleph

Hotel Partner

Boscolo Aleph was one of the first hotels to join the Europe project in 2011. Boscolo continues to donate soap partially used by its clientele to help keep our supply to the repurposing center  going strong. They are doing their part to bring health and hope to people in need with the simple gift of soap. Thanks Boscolo Aleph!

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Hotel Eden

Hotel Eden

Hotel Partner

Hotel Eden partnered with us in summer 2014 and are full of enthusiasm to support the project in every way possible.They are doing their part to bring health and hope to people in need with the simple gift of soap. Thanks Hotel Eden!

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Hotel Principe di Savoia

Hotel Principe di Savoia

Hotel Partner

Hotel Principe di Savoia partnered with us in autumn 2014. Like Hotel Eden in Rome, they are part of the luxurious Dorchester Collection, and have a mind to make their operations more sustainable.  Thanks Hotel Principe di Savoia!

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Hotel Meurice Paris

Hotel Meurice Paris

Hotel Partner

Hotel Meurice partnered with us in summer 2016. Like Hotel Eden in Rome, they are part of the luxurious Dorchester Collection, and have a mind to make their operations more sustainable. Thanks Hotel Meurice!

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Hotel Savoy – Grado

Hotel Savoy – Grado

Hotel Partner

Hotel Savoy – Grado partnered with us in winter 2015 and are excited to help Global Soap Europe bring hope with soap! Thanks Hotel Savoy!

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While Kenya is the most developed of African countries, a study by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) on behalf of Kenya’s Ministry of Public Health found that handwashing with soap is still rare in Kenya. The specifics of the study found:

  • Handwashing with soap in school is almost nonexistent – only 1% washed hands with soap and 28% washed hands in some way
  • 77% of primary school children do not wash hands with soap especially in schools, leaving them vulnerable to suffering from diarrhea.
  • Handwashing with soap takes low priority at the household level. It comes after bathing, doing laundry and washing dishes. The research noted that Kenyans wash their hands with soap after leaving the toilet and but not before handling food. It seems that few people understand the relationship between the lack of washing hands and diseases.
  • The study recommended that any handwashing messages should mainly target women since they are the key decision makers on soap usage at the household level.

Keeping these finds in mind, GSP USA has actively engaged in WASH education in schools and well as targeted women’s groups for WASH training. The goal is to change behavior so handwashing with soap becomes a habit.

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Through our partnership with Medshare, several boxes of soap were sent in September 2012 to a government agency in the Democratic Republic of Congo for use in its medical centers.  As with many other impoverished countries, hospitals in the Congo often lack access to ongoing supplies of soap, so our shipment provides a critical gap filler when other sources are unavailable.

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In 2011, we shipped soap to orphanages in Zimbabwe.  These facilities routinely lack the funds to buy soap themselves, and so the children often go without soap.  This greatly increases their risk of falling ill from hygiene and sanitation-related illnesses.  Our soap shipment, along with the hygiene education provided, will ensure the children have the tools they need to maintain improved health.

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The soap sent to Benin was distributed to three ongoing projects: Women’s Life Skills Classes, Club PfP, and Project Dado, which is an orphan sponsorship program.

The  Women’s Life Skills Classes are taught in two villages with approximately 200 women in the classes.  It is an 18 month program where they are taught on several topics including, prevention and causes of malaria, food poisoning, proper food preparation, child care, personal finance, personal hygiene, importance of girl’s education, and community service.  These women are uneducated and many cannot read or write, so through this program they are being empowered to change the lives of their current family and the future generations of their family.   Soap is distributed during hygiene education classes, where women and girls learn how to wash their hands properly, and why to value soap for the rest of their lives.

The second project is Club PfP, which is a program for middle and high school aged students.  There are 200 students involved with this program as well.  In this program, the students focus on improving their education through study groups, they are taught on various topics such as hygiene, finance, technology, community service, and they play soccer. Our soap is used in the same manner with Club PfP as with the women’s classes.  This is a powerful program because we are pouring into the future of Benin.  These kids desire to know more and do more than previous generations and we have the opportunity to nurture, develop, and increase that desire.

The third project is Project Dado, the orphan sponsorship program that includes 60 children.  These children have been orphaned by one or more of their parents and currently live with other family members.  Each month they are provided with food for the family.  They receive school supplies and uniforms, their school is paid for, and they receive a yearly physical, along with any medicine throughout the year.  A hygiene seminar was conducted, teaching basic hygiene and its purpose emphasizing soap’s role in disease prevention.

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Pajok, South Sudan — She and her husband own the only motel in Pajok, South Sudan, but don’t let that confuse you. Pajok is a tiny trading center in a remote area, and there are almost no visitors coming to this tiny trading center 28 miles from the Uganda border. While the capital, 90 miles away, is full of visitors, especially aid organization personnel and U.N. military forces, the countryside in this remote area has few visitors. Grace’s husband is away from home most of the time since he serves in the South Sudan Defense Force. While motels in the capital can charge $200.00 or more for a room the rooms at Grace’s motel go for $11.00 a night.

The civil war in the Sudan extended from 1955 to 1972, and then broke out again from 1983 to 2005. It has been estimated two million people died because of the war, famine, and disease as a result of the conflict. An additional four million people were displaced, often repeatedly because of the war.

Grace lived in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, with her mother during the war. She had no contact with her husband, Joseph, who was fighting in the war, and she went most of the war not knowing if he was alive or dead. She tells of no medicine and almost no food. Even when there was food it was so expensive she and her mother could hardly afford to buy it. They could not travel, go to the farm, or move freely because of the controls put in place by the Sudanese military. Hundreds of thousands of people fled the country and lived in crowded refugee camps for much of the war.

Even today it is hard for Grace to pay all of the bills and keep the motel, which they opened in 2008, open for business. Not only does she manage the motel with her 6 employees, she does most of the cooking in the tiny restaurant attached to the motel. She must also care for their four children, Winny 15, Kezato 12, Paska 4 and Danal 3 months.  While she understands the importance of soap, she can rarely afford to buy it.

Grace is another recipient of soap from the Global Soap Project. While little Danal (pictured sitting in the tub) may not appreciate its value, Grace understands that soap can be the difference between good health and illness. Including those delivered to Grace, 10,000 bars of soap have been delivered in South Sudan to date.

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Most of our soap recipients in Ghana have been prisons and orphanages. In many African countries, prisons are so stretched for funds so they do not provide personal hygiene products so most go without. Certain skin conditions are common in prison populations which can be easily rectified by killing the bacteria using soap. Soap in this case is a necessity, when living in such close quarters that are often unclean. We hope the soap provides the inmates with some dignity and better health.

In addition, our soap has been distributed to orphanages in Ghana, which routinely cannot afford to provide soap to the children.  Our soap is used when other supplies are unavailable, ensuring continuous access and usage to improve health.

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Our partner Heart for Africa took a shipment of 14,000 bars of soap with them to an orphanage in Swaziland in 2010.  Children in orphanages in Swaziland often lack regular access to soap, or are unable to afford regular purchases because of limited budgets.  Soap from the Global Soap Project provides a lifesaving resource to ensure the children have soap when the orphanage can’t acquire it otherwise.

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Georgia Tech Engineers Without Borders has a project in Njinikom, Cameroon,  in the village of Mungoa-goa. They have been working on a water supply and distribution project there over the last 4 years. Kenneth, who is a teacher by profession at a local school and an appointed youth educator on MUMUDA, used our soap to train local youth, ages 14‐24, to be peer educators in best hygiene, sanitation, and malaria prevention practices.  These peer educators will teach other youth about the importance of good hygiene and how to properly wash their hands, helping prevent the spread of hygiene and sanitation related illnesses in the community, and encouraging positive lifelong hygiene practices.

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According to UNICEF, Malawi has hygiene practices are that are rather low, with only 37 per cent of the population practicing safe hygiene. Additionally, diarrheal diseases are the leading cause of mortality among children under 5 in Malawi, and contaminated drinking water and poor hygiene are important causes.  To address this shortfall, GSP has partnered with two significant projects in 2012 in Malawi.

Partners in Health (PIH) is an international health organization committed to improving the health of the poor and marginalized. They build local public health capacity and work closely with impoverished communities to deliver healthcare and preventive medicine.  PIH took 24,000 bars in June 2012 to be distributed across 11 communities in the Neno district of Malawi. This will be an ongoing partnership between PIH, its local partner APZU, and GSP to improve hygiene education and practice in the Neno district. An estimated 1600 households will get monthly supplies of our soap, with the goal of connecting them with local suppliers over time. In March 2013 the soap was being distributed to patients with HIV/AIDS who are particularly vulnerable to disease.

Our second significant project is the Hygiene Promotion through Malawi Antenatal Care System in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and its partners, the Clinton Foundation, PATH international, USAID, UNICEF and PSI/Malawi. This project includes the distribution of 25,000 Water Hygiene Kits (water storage container with lid and tap, WaterGuard, soap, and ORS) and up to 4 refills of WaterGuard and soap to pregnant women using antenatal and postnatal services in 15 selected health facilities in Machinga District.

Antenatal clinic staff are trained in SWS and handwashing and there is ongoing education of mothers provided during subsequent antenatal, postnatal, and home visits. Water treatment and hygiene behaviors are also monitored during home visits.

The goal of this project is to improve the health and the overall pregnancy for the mothers by incentivizing their clinic visits.  In addition, through the hygiene and handwashing education, the health of the entire family will be improved long-term, as the child will grow up in a home where soap is used regularly.

120,000 bars were delivered in late October, 2012 and nearly 25,000 have since been delivered.

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Zintan and Nalut general hospitals in Tunisia have ordered our soap from our distribution partner Medshare. Hospitals in parts of Tunisia experience times when soap is not readily available, and so our shipment will help fill any supply gaps to ensure that patients and doctors alike have access to sufficient quantities.

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Unsafe gold mining in northwestern Nigeria is causing a crisis of severe lead poisoning near the mines that’s killed hundreds of children and is making thousands more sick. The gold deposits are in Zamfara, a remote part of the Nigeria, near the border with Niger. As of September 2012, one humanitarian agency was treating 2,400 children for extreme lead poisoning. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends washing hands with soap to help stop transmission. In response to this crisis, the Zamfara and Kano State Agencies of Nigeria have requested 4,920 bars to help improve treatment outcomes and prevent the spread of disease.

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In an effort to help prevent a cholera outbreak from spreading, the Global Soap Project sent 160,000 bars of new soap to Sierra Leone in partnership the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

More than 20,000 cases of cholera have now been reported in Sierra Leone’s worst outbreak of the disease in more than 40 years. More than 390 deaths have been confirmed since the outbreak was reported in the second half of 2012, according to the Red Cross.

The 40,000 pounds of soap is being distributed through handwashing education initiatives by hospitals in and around Freetown. The soap will benefit children and families living in extreme poverty, who often do not have access to soap because it is not available or affordable, or who lack an understanding of how and why to use soap to maintain their health.

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We have distributed soap to partners in Uganda primarily serving orphans and refugees.  These vulnerable groups often lack access to soap, and live in conditions where soap is not affordable or, at times, not available at all.  Our soap is distributed to help fill any gaps in supply, to ensure everyone has access to lifesaving soap at all times.

There is a great need for more assistance in the more remote regions of northern Uganda. Our colleague Hajira Mukasa a lecturer in water, sanitation and hygiene at Makerere University in Kampala and an employee of the public health department of Uganda discusses the current soap needs in the video below.

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