In January 2013, a group of Mozambican women got together to form an association to produce and trade soap. Seven women from humble backgrounds, with little experience in business, took over an abandoned building in northern Mozambique and began to grow plants to create a unique soap brand; SHINE.
Throughout 2013, they have been planting seeds and harvesting land. They now have a cooperative workshop and hope to produce oil and a first batch of soap in the first half of 2015. A crowdfunding campaign resulted in over 5,500 USD net that bought an oil press and other hardware. Prior the soap production, the woman will start to press seeds and sell oil locally and possibly even overseas.
Development research finds soap cooperatives to provide attractive earning potential in rural villages and informal settlements, kick-starting entrepreneurial activities even beyond the cooperative's work. The aim of Breaking the Ice is it, to create a ripple effect by spreading the attractiveness of this concept through media, leading to more and more soap-cooperatives.
What happens, when a TV-production together with radio adaption and web-integration is staged around a real-life soap association? A production with lots of love, revenge, excitement, envy, drama, with guest appearances from film stars and musicians, with covert actors and hidden motives, ambiguous characters and so on.... In storytelling terms, the SHINE association is the backdrop. And the daily drama comes together with the beautiful setting next to the Indian Ocean.
The TV-drama and thus the entire project will captivate and engage the viewers. At the same time, a telephone hotline will invite viewers to get in touch about how to establish and run a soap association. The production will be distributed via TV and radio as well as DVD. Together with other development actors, we will conduct local workshops on how to run soap associations, in order to provide a set of initial information and build long-term rapport with new associations. These workshops will be run to individual needs of the communities but based on an established toolbox covering issues from supply chain through production, certification to sales.
The newly established cooperatives will benefit from a growing brand: They receive the SHINE branded marketing collaterals and soap recipe as a social franchise. The TV-drama SHINE will thus build the brand and promote the soap - and at the same time be the driving force for the behavioral change mechanism towards hand-washing with soap.
The soap SHINE is always part of the TV-drama. It is not just any bar of soap with some half-readable brand, put on top of some dirty cloth of a market stall. It is a distinct statement, a connection to good smells, to being attractive, sexy, adorable and healthy. SHINE will use elements of classical marketing to work towards such positioning. Positive, aspirational communications makes the difference to earlier campaigns focusing on hygiene: We "sell" the need for soap in a way similar to the world's largest companies. And we build a brand by that - bottom-up.
Our partner, the Teran Foundation, Mossuril, coordinates the on-ground logistics of the project. Local ownership is provided through the association L.I.F.E., who will be involved in handling the TV-production, including managing the rights for TV-broadcast and internet-presence. Co-producer Breaking the Ice will be working with partners from the soap-industry to see for the international market development. Mid-term, net-proceeds of those sales will feed a WASH-fund (as in Water, Sanitation, Hygiene) to support villages that run soap cooperatives with additional funds for water, sanitation and hygiene projects.