Empowering People Socially and Economically through Hands on Training in Liquid Soap, Candle and Cake Making

Soap, candles and cakes are basic items we use in our everyday lives of people, and yet many people do not know how they are made. With the right ingredients and a few hours of time, the items can be easily made from the comfort of one’s home.

With this in mind, BOSCO Uganda organized a two day training on Thursday 7th and Friday 8th of July at Bardege ICT Centre with the aim of training participants to make liquid soap, candles, and cakes. The training was attended by over 40 participants drawn from BOSCO Uganda’s ICT Centres located in Bardege, Gulu Main Mosque, Coope, and Lacor. Members of BOSCO Uganda’s Entrepreneurship Club Uganda (ECU) and BOSCO Uganda staff were also present.

According to Robert Komakech who organized and coordinated the training, the idea was inspired by the need to help participants to acquire skills for setting up viable businesses that respond to the market requirements given the fact that liquid soap, candles and cakes are basic items that are consumed by people in Gulu on a daily basis. The training was also organized as a follow-up to a business plan competition held by BOCO Uganda on Saturday 16 April 2016 in which over 40 participants presented business ideas. A key observation from this competition was that many participants lacked the skills to start businesses. It was hoped that the skills obtained could immediately be put to use by the participants.

As one participant said afterwards; “The training was life changing because it practically changed our lives”.

The training was presented in three parts consisting of motivational speeches, theoretical sessions and practical sessions.

The purpose of the motivational speeches was to inspire the participants and enable them to hear business tips from successful businessmen who had practically gone through the hurdles of starting and growing a business.

The theoretical sessions involved explaining and elucidating the basic steps involved in making the items (liquid soap, cakes and candles).

The practical sessions involved physically taking the participants through the process of making the items.
On first day of the training a motivational speech was delivered by Mr. Ocira Patrick the proprietor of Montana Hotel, a popular restaurant located in Gulu. He kept participants mesmerized with stories of how he started his business and slowly grew it into one of the most popular restaurants in Gulu town. His take home message for the participants was to start small, be consistent and committed to growing their customer base.

Thereafter participants were trained on cake making by Ms. Abwono Procovia, the proprietor of Easy Life Bakery based in Lacor. She took participants through a theoretical session in the morning, where she explained the basic principles and steps involved in baking a cake. In the afternoon she facilitated a practical session in which participants were taken through the process of making a cake.

Day two was taken up by training participants to make liquid soap and candles. It was facilitated by Mr. Okabo Daniel, the proprietor of Modern Quality Chemicals based in Lira District. In addition to being an entrepreneur, Daniel is also a trainer in entrepreneurship essentials.

At the end of the two days, all participants had both theoretical and practical skills in the making of liquid soap, candles and cakes. For many participants, the skills obtained will serve a dual social-economic purpose. Socially, the participants will be able to put the skills to use in their daily lives; they will have the ability to make soap and candles for home use, and bake cakes for social occasions. Economically they will save money by making these items themselves and also be able to open new businesses. Because they lack these skills and because the items are readily available in shops, many people take these skills for granted and yet they could be fundamental in creating an impact socially and economically in their lives. The participants who participated in the hands on training have been empowered to create a change in their lives, as they will now be able to make these items on their own. It is our hope that they will put these skills to use.

As one of the participants stated: “the training has changed my attitude positively. Now I have got the skills I need to make basic necessities needed in my home. Thank you BOSCO Uganda.” Another participant said: “I feel I am ready to start and grow my business”.

The event was covered by journalists from Radio Rupiny and Radio Mega FM, and later featured on the evening news. The event was also attended by the Chief Executive Officer of BOSCO Uganda, Fr. Joseph Okumu, who in his closing remarks complimented the participants for having taken time to acquire these skills and cautioned them to protect the environment and avoid degrading the land.

The event was closed by the cutting and eating of the cake which the participants themselves had made and decorated

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