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.
Beautiful Women: Shea Community
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 women 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.
Shea Radiance Poverty Alleviation Intervention Program 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.