As a volunteer I have attended many shea butter trainings. Trainings on how to make quality shea oil, soap making, skin lotions, oil for cooking and many other products. Many of you may remember the shea butter making training that I help fund and plan as my first funded project here in Mali.
In Mali shea is the main oil for cooking and often is an income generating activity for women in villages. Shea nuts are so easy to get you just collect them during growing season out in the fields. Shea is so important in Mali that is illegal to cut down a shea nut tree. Shea butter products in the United States are gaining popularity. You will find shea products in the fair-trade, organic, beauty product isle at your health food store.
Luckily a volunteer told me about a woman, Fanta Diollo, in a small village just outside of Bamako who makes soap for exporting and was willing to come and teach the women of Koutiala how to make four different kinds of soap, cucumber, heemé, honey and Bf.
The women enjoyed the training and are going to start soap production soon. They wanted to pick a name for the soap so that others would not copy it and to implement a marketing strategy. They decided to call it Koutiala Kounadi, Kounandi being my Malian name which means good luck in Bambara. I was over whelmed at the gesture. What a privilege to have a brand of soap named after me.