Hilton Worldwide is donating $1.3 million over the next three years and providing logistical support and advice to help the Global Soap Project scale up its operations.
The project is an Atlanta-based nonprofit launched in 2009 that collects discarded soap from hotels, reprocesses it and sends it to needy communities around the world.
By partnering with Hilton’s network of hotels in 85 countries, the organization will better understand the workings of the hospitality industry and gain access to a huge source of donated soap, according to a Hilton news release.
Hilton estimates the partnership will result in the donation of 1 million four-ounce bars of soap that would’ve ended up in landfills.
Derreck Kayongo founded the organization to help refugees who were getting sick simply because a shortage of soap kept them from washing their hands, as GlobalAtlanta first reported.
“When living as a refugee in Kenya, I realized soap was hard to come by, even completely nonexistent sometimes. Even when available, those living on less than a dollar a day had to choose between buying food or soap,” Mr. Kayongo said in a news release.
An outpouring of support has created the problem of processing and distributing the soap in a cost-effective way. Many impoverished communities live in areas with high logistical costs.
The partnership with Hilton will help create a “global, scalable model that will empower hotel properties to support vulnerable populations,” said Mr. Kayongo.
A Uganda native who works for Atlanta-based humanitarian group CARE International, Mr. Kayongo is top-10 finalist for the 2011 CNN Hero award.
The soap project has distributed 25 tons of recycled soap to 20 countries.