Help 375 Just Shea Women Harvest Safer, Earn More

by One Village Planet-Women's Development Initiative Vetted since 2011 Site Visit Verified

There's been so much happening on the ground with the Just Shea Women these past months it's hard to know where to start.

The Just Shea Collective sold 31 Tons of sheanuts to a Fair Trade processing group at top market price: $32 a bag!

We surveyed and distributed safety kits to 203 new Members! Now 578 Just Shea Women can harvest more shea, more safely to store in the Just Shea Collective warehouse.

The members formed a Warehouse Executive Committee with representation from each of the, now 9, Just Shea communities.

We are almost finished with the process of helping them to register with the government as an official Cooperative Union so they can open their own Just Shea Cooperative bank account.

Now that the Just Shea Cooperative is exactly the right size to fill the warehouse you helped us build, we are fully focused on building their capacity so we can do, well, what we always set out to do: work ourselves out of a job.

And here's where we need your support.

Over the next year it is our goal that the Just Shea Women will be able to self-manage their activities and affairs. Of course, we won't abandon them completely and will remain in a supporting role as long as they ask for our help. But the ball of self-sufficiency is set in motion and we believe, as we believe you do, that they can do it.

So, if you can give now, please do! And, really, no amount is insignificant. Even $1 a month makes a difference.

With so much gratitude for your continued support,

Team Just Shea

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That
That's Fati on the right leaving a training site.

We're springing into Spring and want to share with you the incredible success story of Fati and how she used the Just Shea Loan Program as springboard capital.

Fati lives in Tuunayili, one of the seven villages where members of the Just Shea Collective live. As a single mother with nine dependants she had been supporting the whole family with just $100 a year.

She joined the Just Shea Program and was able to take out a loan of $20 using the sheanuts she had stored in the collective warehouse as collateral. She used it to plant one acre of peanuts (groundnuts) and harvested an amazing $220 worth of them. That's a 1000% increase. Just incredible.

With the money she makes from selling them she can reinvest in more crops, send her four children to school, and can even give loans to people in her community who need them.

Writing this I am awed by what she was able to accomplish. And we want to be able to keep sharing stories like this with you. It's because of your ongoing support that this is possible.

We aim to add another 200 women like Fati this year and if you can help us do that, please do!

Tipagaya ("We appreciate")

From all of us at Just Shea

Just wrapping up a capacity building training
Just wrapping up a capacity building training
A supporter inverviews Just Shea Leadership
A supporter inverviews Just Shea Leadership
Now that
Now that's a smile we all helped make possible

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Dear all,

Some great things have happened on the ground here in Ghana, and for that we thank you all.

Nature has been rough on us worldwide and that result in the shea regions of Ghana, means that it was not a banner year for sheanut harvests. Some of the trees didn’t fruit at all, however the women who had a crop or who were more mobile and could travel did very well. Fingers crossed for next year.

We’re still bringing sheanuts into the warehouse, but so far the top collectors are: Rafiatu from Nakpanzoo with 16 bags, which is astounding; Maata from Gushie, our first pilot community, with 12 bags; and Adisah from Savelugu, who is tied in third place with 12 also.

On our business side, we formed a partnership with a dedicated buyer to help supply fully transparent sheanuts for their Fair for Life Shea Moisture products. We love to see trust and cooperation blossom into great business connections. And this is key, because on top of getting top market prices for the women, the program is getting a Fair For Life premium to support the growth of the Just Shea Social Loan Fund and further support the capacity building trainings for the women so they can take on more day-to-day operations. This means more autonomy in their collective.

We continue to work so that women are safer, and have financing and storage. This translates into women who can harvest more, hold crops for longer, and earn more.

We are so very proud that we are all a part of this together.

Our 2016 goals are:

To grow the program in Ghana from 375 to 600 women

To integrate both Christian groups and Fulani cow herdswomen in order to increase our cultural and religious diversity in the program.

Please consider your year-end donations so that we can continue to grow our impact in 2016 and for years to come.

Join us and let’s all cross our fingers for a prosperous New Year.

Warmest regards,
Danielle, Wicki and the Just Shea Team and Women

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Dear All--

The summer months in the northern hemisphere mean longer days, warm temperatures and a more languid style of living. For the women in the in Northern Ghana, where Just Shea and One Village Planet-Women’s Development Initiative is based,  summer means cracking groundnuts (peanuts) while we bag and send all of their shea to the warehouse.

The lifestyle for shea harvesters, and these are the women we preference in our program with One Village Planet-Women’s Development Initiative and Just Shea, work all the time. They are wives, mothers, often village leaders and farmers who create small private gardens for their families and tirelessly harvest and process the sheanuts; a most important crop. So valuable it is refereed to as women’s gold.

Danielle Warren, our founder, has decamped to living full time in Tamale, in the northern Ghana region where most of our work takes place. During this summer quarter Danielle spends time with our local staff in the field. Building capacity and laughing whenever we can.

Our work in the US  is centered around co-founder Wickham Boyle working in advocacy, outreach and gaining better product placement for the Just Shea brand that keeps our mission of “Saving your skin and women’s lives” as vital and important as ever.  We filled large orders of Urban Zen in NYC, Long Island and Denver Colorado. To this end our Just Shea trademark was officially registered and this will help us begin to market a potential new line of products to raise the awareness for shea harvesting, which is still an unregulated, and thus often unsafe endeavor.

We also work in concert with other like-minded organizations and one of these, Girl Tank posted a story about our work in and was republished by Coca Cola. We also continue to help the people at the Voss Foundation who endeavor to provide clean drinking water through out Africa.

In NYC Wicki spoke at Eileen Fisher’s conference on women’s leadership and we hope this involvement may lead to a grant in the future. Also as accolades Wicki was named an Encore Fellow and a finalist for the Purpose Prize.  While Danielle carried our banner to Burkina Faso to Global Shea Alliance conference, one of our best board members, Tejal Wadwhani’s daughter took the lead on a bake sale that brought in over 200 dollars and was a great lift to all of our spirits.

In the end we are the confluence of women working across the globe. We are heartened by the volunteers, the tireless staff and board members who realize that agriculture can be sustainable when it is safer and women who work safer, work better and this creates stronger families and a big, better world. We are honored to be a part of the Global Giving Community.

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There are 276 more Just Shea moms in line!
There are 276 more Just Shea moms in line!

Happy Summer! Sometimes our news is big and splashy, saving women’s lives, helping kids get to school, that sort of thing, but for the last few months we have been designing and implementing a follow-up survey to better measure our impact on the safety and incomes of the Just Shea women. Here are some of the things they said. We think it is exciting, and bet you will too:

Fati Abdul-Karim told us “I stepped on something once in the bush while picking shea. When I turned to check it was a snake biting my foot. But because of the boots it did not penetrate. I was then able to move away and grab a stone to smash it.”

Aliatu Adam said “Because my hands were protected I picked nuts faster.”

Because of her solar light Fatimata Iddrisu says last season “I was able to see a lot of nuts that I am sure I would not have seen if I didn’t have the light”

And we think Abukari Amina really drove home all of our efforts to help these women improve their lives and harvests when she proclaimed “even if Just Shea doesn’t [help us buy] the safety kits [with our sheanuts] again we will make efforts to buy it because of its benefits.”

Thanks to you, the Pay it Forward safety kits specifically designed for the Just Shea women, help them collect shea more safely, more efficiently and harvest an even larger crop. And we could not be more proud to share their testimonies.

But harvesting more just isn’t enough. And that’s why we launched the revolving Just Shea Social Loan Fund.

We are so thrilled to tell you that 99 of the Just Shea Women have taken out their first $20 loans using their shea as collateral! And we’ve had 100% repayment so far.

Another 276 deserving Just Shea moms are on a waiting list who need your help. So help them and pitch in.

These loans allow them to cover urgent cash needs in the Hungry Months. Costs like planting food crops and paying kids’ school fees, and also allow them to hold out for often exponentially higher prices for their shea later in the year.

And the Loan Fund is revolving. So when the women pay back, and remember we’ve had 100% repayment so far, it goes back into the fund and continues to grow as the Just Shea Collective does.Our goal to raise $100 per woman for the Fund. But no amount is too small. Really! They can leverage their shea to turn just a $20 loan into an acre of peanuts to earn up to $150 in additional income!

The rains have started and planting season is now!

JOIN US, and plant seeds of hope, safety and success. 

Fati
Fati's boots saved her from a snake attack.
Her solar light helps her see to collect more shea
Her solar light helps her see to collect more shea
Amina: The benefits of the kit are worth investing
Amina: The benefits of the kit are worth investing

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Organization Information

One Village Planet-Women's Development Initiative

Location: New York - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.ovp-wdi.org
Project Leader:
Danielle Grace Warren
NY, NY United States

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This project is no longer accepting donations.
 

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