Empowering Through Beauty
We Can Change the World
Empowering Women to Empower Women
In West Africa, Shea butter is called “Women’s Gold” because women use the proceeds to feed, clothe, and educate their children. 16 million African women make a living picking Shea nuts and processing Shea butter.
Our connection with women farmers changed the focus of our business. We realized that Shea butter had the potential to change women's lives provide them with a pathway to financial independence.
Projects and Impact
The Clean Cookstove Project will impact the lives of Shea producers in Oyo State, Nigeria, by providing them with clean cooking stoves for their personal use and 10 commercial stoves to help increase their production capacity as a working group.
The women I’ve met are not looking for handouts or donated shoes, bars of soap or toothpaste. They want what every women wants, the ability to be economically independent. These clean cookstoves are one of the many ways we can support her in staying healthy while increasing her income.
Other Programs in Northern Nigeria:
For this intervention, we worked with over 500 local Shea producers in eight communities in Bosso Local Government areas of Niger State, Nigeria.
The program focused on training the women in group formation and Shea nut and butter quality improvement. Training consisted of the following modules:
- Shea Sensitization Program
- Shea Quality Improvement Training
- Group Formation and Strengthening
- Follow-up Intervention on Group Formation
- Supply of basic Shea equipment
Shea Radiance supplied each of the eight communities with the following locally fabricated equipment to help increase production output, relieve physical labor of production and provide a consistent and improved quality of Shea butter:
- 16 Shea roasters (2 per community)
- 8 milling machines
- 8 crushing machines
- 8 connecting metal tables
- 8 Diesel engines
PLANNED IMPACT - For Women Shea Collectors and Local Processors
Improved women’s ability to compete in the Shea market by helping them organize into cooperatives in order to negotiate as a group
- Provided pre-financing of nuts so that women could buy additional nuts from other communities in order to meet up with our production demands
- Established a buy-back arrangement so that Shea Radiance purchases Shea butter from local cooperatives thus providing immediate market for their product
- Provided training and education to improve knowledge of best practices in Shea processing that includes:
- Eliminate smoking of nuts
- Stop indiscriminate cutting of trees
- Promote effective handling and storage of nuts
- Improvement on quality of nuts and butter
- Better Shea prices at farm gate
- Improved ability to handle and maintain Shea equipment
Long-Term Vision for Sustainability:
- Healthcare center and itinerant health practitioner to care for the women and their families
- Learning center within communities for kindergarten and elementary age children, special focus on girls
- Literacy center with focus on women
- Joint project with communities and NGO’s to build better storage facilities for nuts and butter.
Sustainable Supply Chain
The higher percentage of Shea Butter in our products also means that we purchase more Shea Butter — which brings more money to women and their communities. This enables women to gain economic power and change the lives of those around them forever.
Transforming Communities — Shea Radiance Sustainability Projects
2015–2016 Shea Health & Safety Project
March 2013 – Thinking Global, Acting Local — Abuja, Nigeria
In March of 2013, we trained more than 300 small businesses to Think Global and Act Local through a selection of workshops including soap-making, formulation, access to finance, business plan development and marketing. Shea Butter is an incredible gift to women on so many levels — from the Shea producer in the village, to the small-business owner who manufactures products for the local market.
2010 – 2012 Beginning of Strategic Collaborations
In March 2010, I met Petra Jacobi, GIZ program director for Nigeria, on a long bus ride from Bamako, the capital city of Mali, to the Shea-producing communities. We discussed the issue of poverty among women in rural communities, especially in the Shea sector. By the time we were heading back to town, we had talked about the possibilities of a partnership between GIZ and the Shea Radiance brand that would be focused on alleviating poverty in a selected group of communities in Northern Nigeria.
In November 2011, my husband and I formally met with the GIZ team at their office in Abuja, Nigeria, and mutually agreed to enter into partnership with the following objective: “To help local Shea processors improve income through consistent butter production, marketing and sales, and as a result become competent partners in an improved Shea value chain for export and domestic markets.” Our initial intervention was focused on six communities in Bosso Local Government areas of Niger State, Nigeria, and we later opened it up to eight communities.