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BARAKA WILL MATCH ALL TIPS TOTHE KONJEIHI WOMEN'S ENTERPRISE CENTRE.

December Impact & Donations Recap

  • 5 min read
December 2022 Impact & Donations Recap

 

Every order and every tip made an impact.  Your purchases & contributions, and your customers purchases, impacted the lives of over 1,000 rural women and their families in December.  Read on for some of the highlights.


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 Check out these earlier reports too if interested:


Shea Waste to Fuel

Walking softly on our planet is important to Baraka, our customers and everyone we work with.  With the new shea roasters, designed to maximize the use of shea waste for fuel, we have ramped up our circular economy program to turn waste into fuel.

 

Reduce Reuse Recycle

 

We are developing systems and processes that will let us use 100% of the waste from shea butter product as a fuel source, reducing deforestation, mitigating climate change and providing overall support to wildlife habitat and biodiversity.

We are experimenting with using the traditional process of forming the waste into balls to dry and use for fuel, and comparing that with making small, molded bricks (which are easier to stack, store and dry).

Shea waste, left to partially dry before it is formed into shapes and dried to be used as fuel

Shea waste, left to partially dry before it is formed into shapes and dried to be used as fuel

Memuna, hand-shaping a traditional fuel ball from shea waste

Memuna, hand-shaping a traditional fuel ball from shea waste

Fuel blocks, hand-formed and left to dry
Fuel blocks, hand-formed and left to dry
Laughing, joking and playing - watch the Baraka team making traditional fuel balls from shea waste

 

Expect more information in the coming months as we systematize this process and ramp it up.  In December we began the systematic collection and drying of shea waste for use as a fuel (previously it had been more ad-hoc as we didn’t have the new shea roasters that are designed to make the best use of it).

Income Generation Training

We conducted community based training in 8 remote communities where we work in Ghana’s Upper West Region.  We provided hands on training to enable the women to earn above-market premiums on their work in the Shea Butter sector.

The trainings were intense and concluded with much festivity, singing and dancing. 

Kachuu women's group signing and dancing after conclusion of community based income generation training

Training was held right in the communities, enabling more women to participate because they didn’t have to travel.  Here are the women from Mazura at their training
Training was held right in the communities, enabling more women to participate because they didn’t have to travel. Here are the women from Mazura at their training

Konjeihi Women’s Enterprise Centre progress

Work continued at a furious pace at the Konjeihi Women’s Enterprise Centre as it needed to be ready for the Organic Audit inspection.  It was not only ready, the auditor did not find a single issue to comment on.

The Centre is used for Shea Butter production but is also designed as a community, income generation hub, enabling the women to use it year round.

The first shea butter produced at the Konjeihi Women’s Enterprise Centre:

First shea butter produced at the Konjeihi Women’s Enterprise Centre
First shea butter produced at the Konjeihi Women’s Enterprise Centre

 

Making shea butter is a family affair

Making shea butter is traditionally a family affair, with young girls literally learning it from the womb.

When the centre is fully operational there will be a child-care area, complete with tutors to assist children after school and on breaks.

 

Drying areas
When the drying areas are fully complete they will be used year-round for drying and processing crops and other income generation activities
The women love the new eco-ergonomic shea roasters used at the Centre
The women love the new eco-ergonomic shea roasters used at the Centre

 

Abudi Amina kneading water into the milled and roasted shea nuts

Abudi Amina has kneaded water into the milled and roasted shea nuts, whipped it by hand and now the coagulated shea oils have floated to the top.

She is swishing it around to get all the oils coagulated and then will move it to a pot for finishing, the final step before letting it cool and become the beautiful hand-crafted shea butter the women are famous for.

Combating Deforestation Workshops

Deforestation is a serious issue in northern Ghana.  In addition to the deforestation pressures driven by climate change, there is constant pressure to cut trees for making charcoal for cooking. And, even worse, the Shea Tree, because it is so hard and dense, makes highly sought after charcoal.

In all of our community work we take time to educate the women on the long term costs of deforestation and on the benefits of preserving the shea tree for the income it produces every year.

We have just launched a project to develop and print deforestation education materials and will be doing formal community workshops in 2023.  Watch for more in coming updates.

We are also working with our partner Nature Conservation Research Centre to combat deforestation in the Cocoa growing landscape through the preservation of Kombo Trees.

Shea Tree cut for charcoal
If it hadn’t been cut down for charcoal this shea tree could have provided income (and delicious fruit) for decades, and helped to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
The women love the new eco-ergonomic shea roasters used at the Centre
Many of the women who collect shea nuts and produce shea butter for Baraka say they used to make charcoal but have stopped. This lady is making charcoal to earn income. Without other viable income generation options who can blame them. They have families to care for.

Moving Packaging to Ghana

Throughout 2022 we have been working to move more and more packaging to Ghana. We have had the equivalent of nearly two full time positions engaged in packaging and look to increase that in 2023.

We began training our Wa team on packaging in earnest in November and December.  They are doing great and you will see their work when our next container arrives (it is scheduled to leave Ghana in February so should be at the North American Warehouse sometime around May/June [hopefully, but with global shipping challenges that can delay]).

 

Packaging Hibiscus petals and powders in Ghana
Our first efforts at packaging just involved weighing, filling and sealing bags with Hibiscus petals and powders, cocoa powder and other simple to package items
Ella doing our first packaging with a sealing machine
Here you see Ella, doing our first packaging using a newly acquired sealing machine

 

Lilian and Eunice sealing Baobab Oil
Lilian and Eunice are using the heat gun to put leakproof and tamperproof sealing on the Baobab Oil they just packaged
The team is at work packaging cocoa beans
The team is at work packaging cocoa beans

 

Every order has an impact. None of this would be possible without the support of our customers and their customers.

Tips

In December your support through tips was the best ever.  Over 36% of orders made added a tip, totalling 2.65% of revenue.  The tips go directly into Dignity of Income projects, supporting women and families in isolated rural communities in northern Ghana.

Community child in school
Your tips directly assist students and school projects, helping children reach better lives through education
School children sharing desks
School children share desks and work hard, often in very difficult conditions, striving for the education that will help them find a better future and be able to support their parents as they grow older

If you live in Australia, Greater China/North Asia, Philippines or Mexico you can order directly from local Baraka distributors using the links below.

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