WE GREW the Just Shea Program from 50 women to reach a wonderful 375 women. And we have hundreds more on an active waiting list. Together we can bring these women into the Just Shea Collective fold. Help them purchase their Pay it Forward safety kits with a loan paid back in sheanuts. So they can collect shea more safely, more efficiently and harvest an even larger crop to sell at double the price they'd earn without the Just Shea Collective.
WE FORGED PARTNERSHIPS with NRG and GCP Solar to add handheld solar lights to the Just Shea safety kits so the Just Shea Women can travel to, and harvest safely in, the bush when they must collect sheanuts in the dark. (And their kids use them to study at night, too!) with the Savannah Fruits Company and the retail brand Shea Moisture to facilitate a fully transparent shea supply chain, from the women who collect the wild fallen shea fruit, to the bottle on your bathroom shelf. and with the Social Impact Research Lab at the Schulich School of Business, and academics from the business schools at the Universities of Denver, Utah and Ghana, to measure and share the impact of our safety program and the new Just Shea Social Loan Fund we've launched so that women can cover urgent cash needs in the lean season and at the same time aggregate their crop and earn higher prices.
WE BROUGHT into our fold five new wonderful board members and some amazing advisors and volunteers to support and guide our growth. Welcome Loren and Brian and Ben and Ellen and Allen. Welcome Duke and Henry and Gloria and Arthur and Prakash and Marc and Louise and Sarah and Titania and Rebecca and Erin and Hedda and Sandra, who built our brand new website www.justshea.org! and a handful of cool new vendors for the Just Shea Products, including the Carbon Beauty Amazon Store.
WE WERE PROUD to be
At the Clinton Global Initiative annual summit last week so much attention was given to how to augment the world’s economies, in all ways. Quality of life, education, and safety. One of the biggest needs that arises again and again, whether it is discussed by micro lending guru Muhammad Yunus, correspondent Katie Couric, Hilary Clinton or the Prime Minister of Haiti, is “How to get capital to the workers, harvesters, or mini entrepreneurs, often women, who really need it?”
At JUST SHEA we are proud to say that we have been current with the needs of rural families and have been addressing them with our harvesters for two years now. I bet you recall that we now have 375 JUST SHEA Women in our program, all of them equipped with safety gear (thanks to you and our generous partners at Moxie, NRG and Ghana Capital Partners) to protect them against poisonous snakes so they can harvest more, and all of them participating in a crop aggregation warehouse program that has seen their incomes double in the last year. But you may not know that we also have a small micro loan fund, which is insured by bags of shea that women in the JUST SHEA collaborative can utilize.
But now we want to increase the amount of micro loans we can give, so more women can earn more, and it seems that others have been impressed with our work, because wonder-founder Danielle Warren has been asked to participate in a “pitching” session in Berlin in November designed to put our ideas in front of a diverse groups of multi-national funders.
Of course we hope this will lead to new investments, but beyond that we need to have the continued support of our stalwart supporters. That would be you.
We are seeking an inner circle of support of $10,000 that will form the foundation of our micro loan program. Each of these loans will be repaid within 18 months and will then be available to the next women in line. So far we have had 100% repayment.
Well, I bet you are asking, What do women use these loans for?
Glad you asked, because the list is inspiring in itself. They want to buy seeds to plant crops for food and for sale, buy books and pencils for their children so they can get smarter in school, invest in small businesses, go to the clinic to deliver their babies. These may seem like small things for us. But for these women, for these families, it is life changing.
So please join us because on October 15th any donation you make will be doubled by the generous folks at Global Giving.
Mark your calendars, ping yourself. Or stay up until then. But do not miss this opportunity.
With so much Gratitude,
Danielle, Wicki, Fatimah, Fauzia, Assembly and all the Just Shea Ladies existing and to come.
JUST SHEA and Global Giving invite you to help SHINE THE LIGHT on our Just Shea women sheanut harvesters.
Ok, by now we have told you about the wonderful women who collect sheanuts in Ghana and some of the dangers they face. Let’s face it, poison snakes tops the list. We have tackled that by finding ways, thanks to you, to provide protective gear to the women.
So now we want to SHINE THE LIGHT on their work and their plight by providing them with portable, solar lights that can be used to illuminate the murky dawn and dusk when the harvesters have to work so that collecting doesn’t interfere with other family oriented tasks. Plus, their kids can use the lights to do their homework at night!
The light costs $14 and it lasts for at least two years.
We have 375 women in our program, right now.
So the big math leap is
375 harvesters times $14 cost per lamp = $5,250
That’s our goal RIGHT NOW.
Now is the perfect time to contribute, as Global Giving will match contributions to our organization by 40% TODAY (Wednesday July 16th) ONLY! So ever 100 bucks you give buys 140 bucks worth of light.
It’s summer the light is all around us, so let’s share some.
With love and gratitude from Ghana.
It's been an exciting whirlwind on the ground in Ghana the last two months. Fatimah and Danielle have been in the field with our survey squad (a local team of 10) collecting crucial data and distributing Pay it Forward Safety Kits for almost 325 new members! Safety kits mean the harvesters, who are all women and moms, can collect the fallen shea fruits more safely and efficiently and increase their earning potential. Thanks to your support we have more than tripled our reach in this first expansion phase. There are now 373 Just Shea Women from 7 villages!! A few weeks ago we facilitated the sale of last year's sheanuts from the Just Shea Collective Warehouse. We AGAIN helped the women secure a sale price that is double what they were making before they joined the program! In these 30 second micro-interviews we asked how they will invest their increased earnings. The answers: additional income generation activities, like small businesses and planting food crops, and paying school fees for their kids. With the collective sale we also recouped 100 percent of the interest free loans we made available for 40 women to help them cover immediate cash flow needs, allowing them hold out for a higher price for their sheanuts later in the season. This opportunity for the women to take out loans using shea they stored in the Just Shea warehouse, allows them to mitigate risk. It was so impactful that we are formalizing the Just Shea Social Loan Fund this year!
Our goal is 100 bucks per woman and if you contribute $1,000 or more you can have your investment back next May! Pretty cool, right?! Considering interest rates are at an all time low in America, the human interest you gain in this one year, we think, will give you a much greater return.
Feel free to email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions about it! Oh and did you see the New York Times article Marci Alboher wrote about us? There's also a link on our Facebook Page with some new photos from the field.
…AND, lest we forget, a beautiful documentary featuring the Just Shea Women aired last week on China’s CCTV NEWS Faces of Africa Series last week. Here’s the LINK in case you missed it. Whew, we are having a big spring. Help us keep rolling along. Tipagaya! (We Appreciate You!), Danielle, Wicki and Fatimah
Here on the East Coast of America, at the hub of JUST SHEA and One Village Planet-Women’s Development Initiative, we have just dipped our toes into spring and day light savings time is bathing us in much needed light. While across the sea, founder Danielle Warren is living in Ghana for the rest of this year (2014). This is where our villages are and there is no lack of light or warmth there.
Of course we still need your help, support and ardor, but we have some nice forward motion to report as well for this spring:
Women in the north of Ghana are lining up (175 of them!) to join the JUST SHEA program and we want to enroll as many as we can and get them safety gear. However it does cost 250 dollars for each set of protective gear, training, interest-free loans and resource sharing like access to the collective storage silo.
If you learned enough, and want to stop reading here and skip to the end to help purchase more gear and enroll more deserving women and their cute kids, just do it. Leap to the DONATE BUTTON below.
But if you want to know more about why our JUST SHEA program is successful read on…
The JUST SHEA program empowers women who are members to use the resources they have available to them in order to lift themselves and their children out of poverty. We provide, ACCESS, VISIBILITY, ECONOMIC and SOCIAL JUSTICE FOR WOMEN THE WORLD ROUND.
Shea is a 3.5 billion dollar industry, and it’s growing too. It is the primary job of the 16 million women across sub-Saharan Africa who harvest it from the forest floor. Without them, the trade would not exist! And without protective gear there are no safe harvests. And without silos to store their harvest and access to finance, the women earn a pittance, meaning no FAIR TRADE.
JOIN US in supporting fairly traded, safely harvested shea nuts and butter.
Here are some highlights of what we have on the horizon:
Danielle and our on-the-ground Ghana wizard Fati are going to the Global Shea Alliance conference in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to speak about best business practices for collective shea nut warehousing in the end of March. Wicki is staying in NYC to plan a big Charity Buzz Auction coming soon featuring the wonderful Alysia Reiner from Orange is the New Black, as well sales and outreach projects.
Upon return to Ghana Danielle and Fati will be starting socio-economic and health data surveys and quality control trainings with 100 of the newest members women who want to join the program from neighboring villages of Diari and Zosali.
Additionally, we have another 75 women from nearby Savelugu who already received training and were surveyed when Danielle was in Ghana during November. These women are anxious to get their safety gear and start depositing their sheanuts in the warehouse. This will allow them to avail themselves of interest free loans using the shea they store as collateral. Then they can invest in educating their children and planting other cash crops.
Now it’s your turn.
Support a woman to join the program: $250 covers all the expenses of surveying, training, safety gear, and loans.
Consider making an ongoing monthly contribution to the loan fund. Even ten dollars a month can make a huge difference.
So JOIN US!
Wicki, Danielle, Fati and the Just Shea Women.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.