UNICEF in Burundi and Savonor S.A, the main soap and oil manufacturer in the country, unite to make soap affordable for the population in an effort to prevent COVID-19
Bujumbura, 10 July 2020- Burundians throughout the country are now able to buy soap at half price, thanks to the joint efforts of UNICEF Burundi and SAVONOR S.A, the main soap and oil manufacturer in the country. The Blue Soap, called ‘Bururu’ in Kirundi, is the same as the usual local basic soap, except for its color, and it is sold for 150 Fbu (0,08 dollars), half the regular price.
“As we are promoting handwashing with soap as one of the most effective measures to prevent COVID19 and other diseases, we thought it doesn’t make sense to do so if the Burundians cannot afford to buy soap” says Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Burundi.
UNICEF approached SAVONOR S.A, the only industrial soap producing company in Burundi, and reached an agreement: SAVONOR S.A reduces its own profit margin in soap production, UNICEF further subsidizes the production, and SAVONOR S.A uses its usual distribution system to make sure the Blue Soap is available all over the country. Ten million bars of 150 grams soap will be made available every month for an initial three months during the first phase of the programme, for a population of almost 12 million people.
Supporters of the initiative include USAID, the CERF - United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund and World Bank as well as a contribution from UNICEF’s own internal resources. The initiative itself is a part of the Government’s response plan to combat COVID-19.
“Our company has been present in Burundi for 50 years, says Matthias Kuntze, chairman of SAVONOR S.A. In these trying times for the world and the country, we
are happy and proud to do our part in helping the population protect themselves from COVID-19 and other diseases that can be prevented through handwashing with soap.”
With 219 officially confirmed COVID-19 cases as of 8th of July, Burundi has the lowest number of confirmed cases in East Africa. However, with a high population density and a fragile healthcare system, prevention measures are key to stop the pandemic from spreading.
Burundi has also had a high prevalence of diarrhea and waterborne diseases which are particularly dangerous for children. A principle means of avoiding such illnesses is regularly washing hands with soap. “By making sure the population can buy soap at an affordable price, we expect that regular handwashing with soap will become more widespread at household level, which will help reduce the incidence of many other waterborne diseases” says Jeremy Hopkins.
Since the start of the pandemic, UNICEF in Burundi has been supporting the Burundian authorities in providing access to clean water and handwashing devices in health facilities, schools and public spaces, as well as leading in awareness and information campaigns for the public on COVID-19 prevention.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
For more information:
Donaig Le Du, UNICEF Burundi, firstname.lastname@example.org tel +257 79 13 45 38 | WhatsApp : +336 81 42 09 05
Florent Makarakiza, SAVONOR S.A, email@example.com; tel : +257 68 131 415 | + 257 76 221 123.