A group of women in southern Sudan who have set up their own Body Shop-style business producing and selling women’s cosmetics are suggesting that the fragrances can keep men faithful.
The women, who are members of the Anglican microfinance initiative Five Talents, joked with one of the charity’s trustees, Shona Passfield, that one particular product was so good women who bought it would no longer have to worry about their husbands cheating on them.
“These ladies in the Diocese of Wau are wanting to expand their version of a 'Body Shop Sudan'," said Shona. "They have joined a Five Talents’ savings group of 23 members and will shortly apply for a small loan to purchase more ingredients and scale up production. The products were marvellous and are selling really well.
“I do wonder though whether that has something to do with the ladies’ claim that one such fragrance ‘prevented men straying from the marital bed’. If it’s really that effective then there might well be a global market for their products!”
The Wau groups totalling 490 members have already saved over $9,000, equivalent to almost $20 per person and have made loans to their members currently worth over $1,600.
“This savings-led model of microfinance is such a great method of self-help and self-empowerment.” Said Shona.
The Five Talents initiative was started following commendation at the Lambeth Conference 1998 and now has offices in the UK and the USA, and programme delivery partners in 12 developing countries. Each microfinance programme is closely aligned with the local Anglican Province, with work currently stretching over 11 Provinces and 26 Dioceses.
Five Talents is now serving over 27,000 people with business training, small savings and loan schemes (microfinance). This enables people to run their own small informal businesses from which they can meet their household needs and improve their living standards.
At a recent fringe event at the Church of England’s General Synod, Five Talents was described by its patron Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams as “a gift to the Anglican Communion”. He told those gathered at the event: “It has been a privilege to be involved with this [Five Talents], to hear the good news that it brings and to see the excellent modelling of the development work ethic. This is a deeply creative and constructive way forward.”
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