Crossroads International, Green Beaver and Papillon MDC to join forces to bolster women soap making entrepreneurs in Senegal

Montreal, March 16, 2016 - Crossroads International, Green Beaver and Papillon MDC are proud to announce a private sector partnership that will increase the productive capacity and ultimately incomes for a women run soap making business in Senegal. 

Crossroads' local partner Union Nationale des Femmes Coopératrices du Sénégal (UNFCS) is at the core of a network of 15,000 women cooperators who produce a range of soaps in ten regional unions across Senegal. Through these cooperatives women get a foothold in the local economy and it puts them on the road to economic independence.

Papillon MDC Inc., a state of the art leadership development firm serving industry leaders worldwide, is designing a tailor made training program for young women that addresses their unique context and challenges. Papillon MDC’s CEO Mirella De Civita says the program will be transformative for these young women leaders. “We want women to succeed in the world; this is why we are engaged. We know that women have much to give and this project presents a wonderful challenge. We look forward to developing a program based on local values and needs identified by the women.”

Green Beaver, a leader in natural household cleaning and personal care products, will work with the women on product development and marketing. They began as small scale producer, making soap in their kitchen, and today, they distribute their products across North America. They have been where these women are at and hope their experience can help them. “We cannot wait to see how Green Beaver can help make a difference through this project and to learn more about the details of the cooperative’s operation. We are very excited about this partnership.” says Alain Ménard, Co-founder and CEO.

Initially, the 18-month partnership will target 33 women who will share their training with an additional 333 women. The partnership will focus on soap production using local environmentally sustainable plants and ingredients. A first in person contact is planned this spring between the two companies and UNFCS as two representatives of the Senegalese organization will be coming to Canada to visit Green Beaver’s production plant, to meet with staff and share with Papillon MDC. 

In Senegal, 65 per cent of the population are women. “They are making progress. Still many women, less educated than men, are financially dependent on them,” said Christine Campbell, Interim Executive Director with Crossroads International.   “UNFCS is helping women assert their rights and improve the standard of living for themselves and their families. The investment of Papillon MDC and Green Beaver will help these women cooperators take leadership as economic actors in their community.”

This partnership was made possible with the support of Umalia, a company specialized in corporate societal engagement strategies and shared value partnerships. 

For more information, please contact: Marianne Drouin, Communications Officer, 514 528-5363, ext. 659, or


Crossroads International gratefully acknowledges the support of: