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Income Generation

Learning to make and sell soap has helped the women as they can now afford to feed their children

The Salvation Army International Development UK is an umbrella term for the community development work that The Salvation Army United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland supports around the world. This work is divided into six themes, four of which sit within the International Projects Office (Clean Water,  Emergency ResponseFood Security and Income Generation), and two of which sit within Anti-Trafficking & Modern Slavery (Anti-Trafficking and Gender Justice). We are also responsible for overseeing the transfer of funds for the UK’s Mission Support Allocation (money donated through the annual Self-Denial Appeal).

On this page, you will find information about our Income Generation theme, stories from our projects and resources (coming soon) to help you raise funds and awareness about this issue within your community.

Soap Making and Literacy Training, Burkina Faso

The Mali and Burkina Faso region is one of the newest extensions of The Salvation Army, with the work in Burkina Faso having been officially opened in August 2018. There are now seven corps and eight outposts in the region.

Both Mali and Burkina Faso are recognised as two of the poorest countries in the world according to the United Nations Human Development Index. Of 189 countries listed, they ranked at number 182 and 183 respectively.

Burkina Faso is a low-income, landlocked sub-Saharan country with limited natural resources. The communities that The Salvation Army is working with identify their biggest challenges as malnutrition due to high costs of foods in the marketplace and lack of clean safe water, and food insecurity caused by recurrent droughts. In addition, women also highlight their lack of access to educational opportunities, as many are married at a very young age.

Poessin is located approximately 50 miles from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. It is in this small village, characterised by mud houses and dry dusty roads, that The Salvation Army has started a project aimed at empowering women to become self-reliant through income-generating activities.

In 2017, The Salvation Army in Burkina Faso constructed a Literacy and Skills Training Centre in the village. This serves as a space from which this local Salvation Army outpost can build relationships within the community, the majority of whom are Muslim. The Centre is also home to numerous activities, such as providing literacy training to women who have never attended formal schooling, as well as health education and livelihood skills including soap-making.

Quedrougo Delfhine is part of the project and brings along her three-month-old daughter to the centre when she attends her literacy and skills training classes.

Delfhine said that she joined the project because she needed to learn how to read and write her name, something she is now able to do with confidence.

According to one of Delfhine’s teachers, Sarambe Rodrique, the functional literacy training has been very successful because it has provided an opportunity and freedom for women to learn how to read and write. He said, ‘The literacy skills provided have enabled over 80 women to know how to count money and sign receipts. This will help them when they start their income-generation businesses.’

Upon completing her Level Three literacy classes, Delfhine joined the soap-making and gardening classes. She has learnt how to make soap, how to grow different types of nutritious vegetables and how to make compost. According to Delfhine, these skills have given her hope to sustain her family. She said, ‘I am now hopeful that I can soon start making soap at my home and sell in the market to earn some income to support my family.’ An alternative source of income is a lifeline for families living in Poessin, as minimal rainfall means providing food for the children is often a huge challenge.

Learning to make and sell soap has helped the women involved in the project because they can now afford to feed their children. The project has also improved health within the community since soap is now affordable.

Other Income Generation Projects

The Salvation Army is supporting a number of income generation projects around the world such as micro-credit in China, self-help groups in Kenya, and village savings and loans groups in Tanzania.  Contact us if you would like to find out more.


For videos, fundraising ideas and session guides for all ages, check out our latest Helping-Hand Appeal, Community Shares and explore The Salvation Arm's income generation projects as a church or group.