We strive to create value and make a difference in the lives and communities of the women who make Baraka Shea Butter.
Working with Women & Communities
Working with women and communities is core to Baraka’s very purpose. It permeates all we do from one end of our value chain to the other.
Baraka has a full-time presence in northern Ghana with our local team. Wayne travels to Ghana several times a year and spends as much time as he can in the communities where we work and with the people we work with. You can often find posts on his time there on our Facebook Page.
Baraka Shea Butter was founded on the belief that business can and should make positive impacts on society and be an effective steward of the environment, while at the same time making business profits. Positive impacts on the women, communities and families we work with and caring for the environment are tightly integrated into our business model. This concept is core to Baraka’s purpose and permeates how we operate and all that we do from one end of our value chain to the other.
All Baraka Shea Butter is community certified fair trade, meaning that we pay a premium price for our shea butter and work with the women and community to identify and support additional development efforts and priorities. We meet annually with the producer groups to review our activities from the prior year learn their development priorities for the coming year. It is important that we learn how Baraka can continue to support them (in addition to the income they earn from their work producing shea butter).
Every purchase of Baraka Shea Butter has a direct impact on hard-working women and families in northern Ghana. We believe in creating value chains that make a difference, from the women who make Baraka Shea Butter all the way through to the consumers who use products made from it.
We actively work to educate our entire value chain and help our customers integrate the community impact into their marketing and promotions. This can help their business and help their customers understand the important impact shea butter has on the women and families that make it.
For more on our founding principles and our work with women and the community, read the message from our founder.
At Baraka, we enjoy working with our producing partners to help them with their community and development priorities. Your purchases from Baraka directly support development for the communities and families in Northern Ghana that produce our products in areas such as:
For additional information, click here.
Community Certified Fair Trade
All Baraka Shea Butter is Community Certified Fair Trade.
This means that the women who make it meet annually to review their relationship with Baraka Shea Butter and whether or not they have been treated fairly.
They review and discuss their relationship with Baraka over the past year and decide whether or not to let Baraka use the Community Certified Fair Trade logo for the coming year.
Fair treatment includes:
- Payment of a premium price above market price
- Negotiation of price and relationship as a group
- A respectful and dignified relationship between Baraka and the women
- Support for community, family, youth, education and other priorities as identified by the women’s groups
- Plus, other priorities and issues as identified by the women’s group
You can see and hear women’s group and community leaders discuss Baraka and Fair Trade in this video.
Children & Education
Supporting education is a high priority for all of us at Baraka Shea Butter. We are proud to support the educational development of women and children through initiatives like:
- Purchasing school uniforms and supplies
Children going to school in Ghana require a uniform which can be challenging for families with limited resources. Baraka Shea Butter works with our shea butter customers, and local markets and providers to purchase fabric for uniforms. We then contract with local sewers and tailors to do the measuring, cutting, and sewing. Additionally, we worked with our local Staples store near our headquarters in Duncan, and stores in Ghana to purchase the supplies needed for the school year. By doing so, the children in the Village of Kperisi start school with new uniforms and school supplies, and the fabric sellers, sewers and tailors receive weeks of work and income.
- Girl Child Education
We work with WaCa Development Partners, an NGO based in Northern Ghana to support tuition and other educational costs for girls in high school and post-secondary programs. This is supported through contributions from Baraka Shea Butter as well as direct contributions and fundraising by and with our customers and others in the value chain.
- Sports Equipment
Children the world over love to play. This is healthy and supports their physical, mental and emotional well-being. Baraka delights in helping children have fun and play by sports equipment such as balls and uniforms to the local youth community.
The team at Baraka Shea Butter is committed to improving the economic, political, and social well-being of the communities that produce our shea butter. We do so through initiatives such as:
- Income Generation
Baraka Shea Butter works Amina Yussef, a local development
practitioner, to train the women’s groups on income generation
activities. The women receive training on basic micro business
strategy and economics, as well as various specific activities that will allow them to generate income, often by making products (e.g., soap, bow-fruit, etc.) to sell at the local market. By doing so, the women not only receive valuable training but can add additional income to their household using the skills they have developed.
- Micro-credit support
We encourage our producers to become involved with
organizations and projects that can provide micro-credit support to
their income generation and development efforts. By supporting
local micro-credit projects where possible, we contribute capital
that can be used for lending to provide capacity development
support and training for the organizations so they can take
advantage of other opportunities to provide assistance and support.
Baraka Shea Butter believes that we are in a climate crisis and work to be effective stewards of the environment. We try to organize our work, our activities and our lifestyles to tread as softly as we can on our planet.
We don’t do this out of a sense of obligation, or because we are forced. We do it because we believe it is smart business in so many ways. See below to watch some short videos about how we try to live this approach.
- Waste Not
We take great care and strategically plan to ensure that nothing is wasted when making Baraka Shea Butter. The hard-working women who make Baraka Shea Butter carefully work with any remaining residue and material to shape and dry so it can be reused for other purposes. Learn more in this video.
- Shea Nut Shells for Fuel
Preparing Shea Nuts (seeds) for making Shea Butter includes re moving the husks. These husks are not just discarded, but are reused as fuel for cooking, and even for making the next batch of pure, unrefined, hand-crafted Baraka Shea Butter. See how this is done.
- Shea Tree Regeneration
Shea Trees grow wild and regenerate naturally, but they take
several years before they start fruiting and producing the delicious fruit and the seed that makes our Shea Butter. So how do we help them? Baraka research estimates that at least 85% of the shea seeds that fall from the trees are left unpicked and are available to germinate. Learn more about our Shea Tree Regeneration and Conservation.
- Shea Tree Conservation
Baraka and its Founder, Wayne Dunn have been actively involved in the conservation of Ghana’s fragile Savannah for years. Lack of economic options often forces families to cut down Shea Trees and make charcoal for cooking (Shea is known as producing the best hardwoods). Baraka is involved in education and awareness campaigns and, more importantly, every kilogram of pure hand made Baraka Shea Butter purchased puts money into the hands of hard-working women and families and incentivizes them to preserve the Shea Trees. Watch this video to learn more!
Interested in learning more – read about Baraka’s Environmental Pledge.
Sustainable Development Goals
Passed unanimously by the United Nations in September 2015 the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have quickly emerged as the primary global framework for development, supported by every country in the world and wholeheartedly embraced by progressive governments, industries, organizations, and businesses everywhere. Baraka Shea Butter is no different.
At Baraka, we help our producers work towards meeting their community and sustainable development goals. Your purchases from Baraka directly support the development for the communities and families in Northern Ghana that produce our products and have an impact on the SDGs. Income generation, women and gender, education, environment, healthcare are some of the SDG priorities the women who make Baraka Shea Butter have identified. We are active supporters of this developmental framework, from our organizational structure down to our core values. Every decision is made in the best interest of our clients, staff, producers, the environment and aligns with our guiding principles:
- Community Development and Social Value Creation
Baraka looks for innovative and sustainable ways to support the ongoing social and economic development in the areas where we produce our goods so that the residents can benefit from business activities in their communities.
- Environmental Stewardship
The Earth’s natural capital is the ultimate source of wealth and value creation, but it is fragile. Conventional approaches to business growth have threatened our resources, but Baraka believes a more careful, creative, and thoughtful approach can protect our ecosystem while meeting and exceeding environmental standards.
- Financial Sustainability
At Baraka Supplies, we want to build a company that can do good and still be successful as a business. Our operations are structured not only to support our principles but to provide strong financial returns so we can achieve our objectives, support the communities that make our products, and continue to provide for our family in Canada.
Baraka Shea Butter is committed to our purpose and values. We are a small business, and our development projects are small but meaningful. They do make a real difference for families and communities, and with customers like you supporting our business and supporting the development directly, we can help even more families and more communities.
Some customers have asked to be more involved in supporting development projects and have organized fund-raisers, donated directly, sponsored someone’s education, etc. That support makes a huge difference!
Additionally, our founder and CEO has a long background in corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and strategy in the space where business meets society at the CSR Training Institute. Read a message from our founder and view Wayne’s Vignette Lectures on the SDGs and business at the Strategic CSR/SDG Video Channel or the Insights into Business 2030 Video Channel.
Want to get involved? Wayne would love to tell you more about the SDGs and how you can help – contact him if you’d like to know more!