This year’s SAPICS conference (taking place from 10-13 June), the leading event in Africa for supply chain professionals, will host the inspiring Dr. Derreck Kayongo. He will be sharing the story of how the non-profit organisation he founded contributed to a 30% reduction in child deaths globally by recycling hotel soap. Here’s his story, and it’s an incredible story of how a hotel’s waste can be utilised in a way that makes a huge difference:

After fleeing civil war torn Uganda in 1979, Kayongo became a refugee in Kenya. He later immigrated to America to attend university, and it was on his first day in the country that he was inspired to start an organisation that has, since 2009, contributed to a remarkable 30% reduction in child deaths globally.

Kayongo explains the beginning of his journey from refugee to CNN Hero: “I was preparing to take a shower in my hotel when I discovered the many different kinds of soap in the room. There was hand soap, face soap, body soap and shampoo. I had never seen so much soap for one person!”

After a few days, Kayongo began to wonder what happened to the partially used soap that disappeared from his room each day. “I was shocked to discover that it was just thrown away.” Motivated by his experiences as a refugee in Kenya, and knowing that in-crisis communities are often without basic necessities, including soap, Kayongo eventually created a life-changing international aid organisation called “Global Soap Project”. The non-profit organisation collects discarded soap from hotels, sanitises and reprocesses it, and distributes it to vulnerable populations worldwide. This simple idea is making a significant contribution to the fight against hygiene related diseases, which are the number one killers of children in many at-risk communities.

“Lack of proper hygiene claims more than 1.8 million lives every year, but I discovered that 800 million bars of soap a year are thrown away. That is 2.6 million bars of soap every single day,” says Kayongo.

Global Soap has given millions of bars of soap to refugees and people affected by natural disasters like the earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal. Kayongo’s original vision for the organisation was also to include micro-loans and training for soap makers in communities around the world, and this is now underway.

Global Soap recently joined forces with “Clean the World”, to add even more impetus to the two organisations’ humanitarian efforts. Jointly, they are now active in more than 90 countries. “Through this partnership, even more trash will be diverted from landfills, more soap can be recycled and distributed, more vulnerable people can be reached, and there is even greater focus on the sustainable impact of this life-saving mission,” Kayongo enthuses. His visionary soap recycling operation is flying high and making a real difference in millions of lives.

Established 40 years ago, the annual SAPICS Conference is the leading event in Africa for supply chain professionals. The 2018 SAPICS Conference takes place in Cape Town, from 10 to 13 June. For more information, visit www.sapics.org

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