It's been a whirlwind so far this year!
We just returned from the Global Shea Alliance annual conference in Burkina Faso where we shared some of our Just Shea best practices to improve the lives of the sheanut collectors at the base of the pyramid with industry stakeholders of all levels. And we received an award for our commitment to a sustainable shea industry.
We had the wonderful team from the Social Impact Research Lab here again to visit the women in their villages. They are helping us to design a follow-up survey to better measure our impact on the safety and incomes of the Just Shea women. We can’t wait to share those results with you in our next report!!
We helped the Just Shea women seal the deal for the sale of their sheanuts to the women who process the shea butter for 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.
The women will make 50 USD per bag for their sheanuts this year! Far higher than the average sale price. And they’ll also be receiving a Fair Trade bonus of 10% on top of that because of the Just Shea Program.
Our goal is to add an additional 200 deserving women from the waiting list to the program this season to bring us to a grand total of just under 600 Just Shea Women. But the season is coming upon us quickly and we need your help to grow.
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.
It costs just 50 bucks to add a woman to the program.
But harvesting more and having a place to store in the Just Shea warehouse just isn’t enough. That’s why we need to ramp up the revolving 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 in the Just Shea Collective Warehouse you helped us build, and earn higher prices.
This loan fund is revolving. So when the women pay back, and we have 100% repayment so far, it goes back into the Fund and continues to grow as the Just Shea Collective does.
We hope to raise 100 USD per woman for the Fund. But no amount is too small. And we hope you will help if you can!
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
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