2009 was a very successful year for Palm Project. It started in August with the upgrade of the Soap Factory in preparation for the design of the Product Range samples.
Ivon Durloo a volunteer techi from NZ started with the builders who first built the Soap factory and they installed the solar panels, batteries, inverter, lights, kitchen sink and plumbing for running water.
A meeting was held with the community to discuss the buying and selling of the Coconut Oil to Palm Project. A price was set by the community for the Coconut Oil and the price of the soap was also discussed.
The outcome of the meeting saw the selection of ten women and two men to design and complete the Product Range samples.
Palm Project workers started the next day and shortly after that women started to bring Coconut Oil to the Factory for sale. Buying the Coconut Oil has seen the beginning of an improvement of the livelihoods of the families in the three villages on the Island. It has given the Coconut Oil makers a chance to make money to feed and educate their children.
Coconut oil making has traditionally been a job that only the women partake in and this has meant that the money goes directly toward the wellbeing of the families.
Over the next six weeks the Palm Project workers had two projects to complete. The first was to make soap to sell at the upcoming ‘Dance Competition Festival, the second to complete the samples for the Product Range.
By the end of the six weeks the team had made a thousand cakes of beautiful Virgin Organic Coconut Oil Soap and an exquisite Product Range consisting of shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. They added several different varieties of soap using their own hand made cocoa butter, the local niang (turmeric), fragranced with frangipani and tamanu oil as an anti-septic.
These samples were especially designed for the Hotels and Resorts after market research proved that the Coconut Oil Soap was well received in 2008. They were then shown to the local Hotels and Resorts because the buyers had shown a keen interest in the soap. Once they viewed the samples they offered Palm Project a contract for 2010.
Palm Project is excited and thrilled by the response and intends to for fill these contracts at the beginning of 2010.
The festival has now been and Palm Project had a stall, they sold the beautiful body lotion and many cakes of soap. The festival attracted over three hundred visitors and was a huge success for the Maskelynes Island and palm Project received much feedback and all of it positive and complimentary.
Wages were paid for all the work achieved and money has been put aside to continue buying Coconut Oil from the local families.
Palm Project has started what will become a very successful business and they look forward to the future with enthusiasm and excitement