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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.
We source our Shea Butter directly from women run cooperatives in the rural areas of Nigeria and Ghana. We do this because it ensures that we get the finest quality hand-crafted Shea butter that delivers the best results for our customers. Most importantly, direct trading with Shea producers removes the middlemen, placing revenue in the hands of the women who have earned it.
At Shea Radiance, we know that when a woman is financially empowered, she can change the lives of her children and community. We are inspired by the strength, beauty & dignity of the women who harvest & process our Shea butter. Together we can make a difference in the lives of women and their communities. Here are some of their stories:
"My name is Habiba. I have 4 children. Shea Radiance started working with our co-op group in 2011 -2012. Producing Shea butter and having a steady market for my Shea product has changed my life. I no longer have to toil doing subsistence farming. Three of my four children are in school. My hopes and aspirations include helping my children further their education, having them nicely clothed and having enough money to do other types of business."
“My name is Ramatu. I am from Niger State. I used to go into the forest to cut down trees to sell as firewood. Hauling firewood was hard back breaking work for me. Now I am into Shea butter processing, with the help of Shea Radiance. I have 6 children. Now I am earning more money from Shea butter production unlike before, and now I am getting more money to buy things for myself (i.e cooking supplies). If there is no Shea butter production that means I am left with nothing. Shea butter has done a lot of good things for me.”
“My name is Aisha. I support my family by the buying and selling of farm products; I also work on Shea butter production. I have 5 children, 3 are in school the other 2 are at home. If I can sell more Shea butter, I can have more money for my children. I would also be able to send my other children to school. If there is no Shea butter then there is no school, there is nothing because there is no money.”
Our connection with the women changed the focus of our business. We realized that Shea butter had the potential to change women's lives by alleviating poverty and providing women with an income to meet the needs of their children.
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 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:
PLANNED IMPACT - For Women Shea Collectors and Local Processors
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.
2015–2016 Shea Health & Safety Project
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.
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.
Our journey began ten years ago while seeking a natural solution for our boys’ dry and eczema prone skin. It led us back to our homeland in West Africa where the Shea trees grow. We saw how hard the women worked and how proud they were of the fruit of their labors. We also saw how hard their lives were and the many health and safety issues they faced as they tried to provide for their families.
The connection I made with women who looked just like me changed the trajectory of our business. It became clear that our success was intricately linked to theirs. If they thrived physically and financially, our business would have a sustainable supply of the best quality Shea butter for manufacturing our premium quality natural beauty products.
The Clean Cookstove Project will impact the lives of 1,000 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 West African 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