Gushie's elder, Magazia at the Gushie silo gates.
Coming to you direct from Gushie, where our Project Founder Danielle Warren has been in the field making sure all the gears and parts that are the Just Shea Program machine are well oiled and in place in preparation for the Gushie Women Sheanut Harvesters’ first collective sale.
In late August we had a series of inspiring meetings with the women in the collective, with the assistance of our new Program Director Fatimah Zubair—a local and long-time volunteer on the project, who has been assigned by the Ghana National Secretariat to work full time with us for her one year Term of Service. Together we determined needs and goals, and set to work over the next month to address and fulfill them.
We constructed a 30 x 60 foot concrete slab alongside the silo that will serve as a quality control and drying area to inspect collective sheanuts before weighing and bagging, built 20 pallets to line the silo floor and keep the sheanuts dry during storage. As well we established an intake receipt and micro-loan system that will allow each woman in the collective to take out a small loan of up to six dollars using the sheanuts she has stored as collateral, to help encourage the collective to hold out for the few months they need to wait for the price of shea to rise. Six bucks may not seem like a much, but when your total income is 20 dollars a year, it makes an incredible difference.
We’re full steam ahead and working to secure a buyer for the women’s sheanuts in November, when the selling price is most favorable to them.
Because of you, because of what we have done together, the women in the Gushie Women’s Sheanut Collective are poised to double their income this year. And, not only that, not a single snakebite was suffered among them this harvest season. Saving lives, doubling incomes…Yup, we’re doing that.
Now let’s all do what we can to make sure the 123 women who are on the waiting list can join us too!
We’ve included a few snapshots below and, just as soon as Danielle can get to a place where it doesn’t take an hour to upload a photo, we’ll be posting lots more to our Just Shea Facebook page. So make sure we’ve got your thumbs up there to get them in your feed.
Onward. With Gratitude.
Danielle, Wicki and the Just Shea Program Team
Strategic planning with the Just Shea Collective.
Masonry crew at work on the sheanut drying area.
We're excited about the storage pallets, too.
Quality control training on the new drying area.
Bagging Just Shea sheanuts for the first big sale.