I’m pleased to share that, just a few weeks ago, I joined the Global Shea Alliance! This is a group of companies and women’s groups working together to make the shea industry better, particularly for the millions of women who collect shea nuts.
I’ve actually known about the alliance for some time. I’ve attended some of their events. I’m convinced that the only way we can really improve the situations of the women who collect shea nuts – who are the backbone of shea – is to work together at all levels.
The alliance includes companies and women’s groups of all sizes across West Africa and indeed around the world with a shared interest: shea! Some of the world’s biggest brands are in the alliance – companies like L’Oreal and The Body Shop that are familiar to consumers and many more that are not but that play a big role in the industry: AAK and Loders Croklaan, for example, which make specialty fats for use in foods, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Because only if we work together can we help the most important people in shea: Women in West Africa who collect shea nuts! Millions of women in shea live in terrible poverty. They are at the bottom of the shea supply chain and are often paid pennies for their labor, whether that labor involves getting up at dawn to collect shea nuts or working for hours to make shea butter. We have to do more for these women – with these women.
Many women’s groups are members of the alliance and it has allowed them to speak directly to big companies about their situation and help the big companies understand that things need to change as far as shea is concerned. I’m happy to be a part of the alliance and will use my membership to join with other companies in efforts to help women across West Africa. And you can be assured that when you buy my products you are making the world a better place!