Reviving the Wulu Women’s Cottage Oil Mill: UNDP and Sweden rebuild shea butter cottage factory in Lake State

Posted December 15, 2021

14 December 2021, Lulu Women's Oil Cottage member giving shea butter. Photo: UNDP/ Peter Kongmalavong

13th December 2021

In a joint field mission with the government of Sweden, representative of the World Bank and board members of UNDP’s Peace and Community Cohesion (PaCC) project, an oil mill was handed over to the Wulu Oil Women’s Empowerment Group.

34Km away from Rumbek town, locates an oil mill cottage factory that used to export South Sudanese oil from shea seeds across the East African Region. The factory was burnt down during the 2013 conflict forcing production to end. Now installed with two industrial oil mill machines, solar energy panels, an office and, a water bore hole, all four counties in Rumbek will benefit from the facilities through trade. The cottage factory will also enhance social cohesion through trade interaction.  

Speaking on behalf of the Governor of Lake State, Honorable Stephen Mathiang said, 

“Peace and Security will be secured and it will be the responsibility of the Commissioner. The sustainability of this peace facility is important and if this centre is damaged it will affect the wider community. For the people of Lulu this product should go across South Sudan and the solar power should provide energy for state. Let it be an example for peace development.” 

Wulu Oil Women's Group sitting in oil mil. Photo: UNDP/ Peter Kongmalavong

The cottage factory has targeted to improve the livelihood of over 5000 women in Lake state and to increase trade production.

“You have brought stability to Lake State and now we need reconciliation between groups that were once in conflict...We are here to work with you so we can further the dividends in peace. When peace comes development follows.” – says Samuel G.Doe Resident Representative UNDP South Sudan.

Nimble interventions that are small-scale but effective to reach a large community base is another key example of gains as a result of relative peace and stability in Lake State. 

The Chairperson of the Wulu Oil Women’s Cottage Industry thanks UNDP and the Government of Sweden and Japan for the support and pledged to keep the project viable. 

“UNDP has empowered us and this oil mill is for us women and for the general public. This was once upon a time a place where a lot of development and peace existed. We do need more support for transport as our farmers are travelling far to pick shea seeds and ground nuts. The sustainability of the centre is important” – says Chairperson of the Lulu Oil Refiner Mary Nafisa 

Wulu Oil Women using oil mil to extract shea butter. Photo: UNDP/ Peter Kongmalavong

Wulu oil female trainer demonstrating shea butter extraction process. Photo: UNDP/ Peter Kongmalavong

30 female community members have been trained to operationalize the oil mils. Under the wings of the women, they lead a large volunteer group made up of both men and women and youth who are responsible for the sourcing of seeds such as shea, groundnuts, which are rich in Rumbek.

“I believe that the Swedish people will witness and tell the people in Sweden that their money is reaching the targeted group. This is the transparency wanted from Norway, Sweden and Japan that whatever they give, it is certain and accountable.” – says Honorable Chol Rambang Chairperson of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee

“When there is stability then communities can thrive. Sweden is committed to partner with UNDP through PaCC” – Marko Larsson, Acting Head of Programmes Swedish Representation Office in South Sudan. 


For more information contact:

Peter Kongmalavong, UNDP Communications:

Samuel G.Doe, UNDP South Sudan Resident Representative signs handover agreement for Wulu Women’s Cottage Oil Mill. Photo: UNDP/ Peter Kongmalavong

About UNDP South Sudan Peace and Community Cohesion Programme:

UNDP’s Peace and Community Cohesion (PaCC) programme seeks to contribute to the reduction and mitigation of community level conflict and insecurity by investing in initiatives that address key drivers of conflict and insecurity. The project empowers communities to identify in an inclusive and participatory manner the roots of conflicts in their communities, and using an integrated and gender- sensitive approach, support the communities to effectively prevent, manage and resolve conflict in a non-violent manner. The project also strengthens community relationships by identifying and strengthening cultural, social and economic connectors that make communities reliant on each other in times of peace and conflict. This work is made possible with funding from the Government of Sweden.

Learn more about UNDP's work in Peace and Community Cohesion in South Sudan.

Minister of Cabinet Affairs of Lake State, UNDP South Sudan Resident Representative, Chairperson of Peace and Reconciliation Comittee cut ribbon at entrace of Wulu Women's Oil Cottage

Solar Generator Panels in partnership with the Government of Japan and ITM

Acting head of programmes for Sweden Representative Office in South Sudan, Marko Larsson handing over keys to head of Wulu Women's Oil Cottage Group

Solar power generator and diesel generator at the Wulu Oil Cottage

Stephan Mathiang, Minister of Cabinet Affairs in Lake State representing the Govenor of Lake State