- Hannah Clark
New partnership with The Body Shop and Tungteiya Women's Association
Madam Fati Paul, Chairperson of Tungteiya Women’s Association, explains the process for making shea butter for Farmers’ Voice Radio
This week, Farmers’ Voice Radio is launching a new project in partnership with Tungteiya Women’s Association and The Body Shop, focused on shea nut collectors and shea butter processors. Farmers’ Voice Radio trainer, Cristina Talens, is in Tamale to kick-start the new project!
Tungteiya Women’s Association has been The Body Shop’s supplier of shea butter since 1994, sourced through The Body Shop’s Community Fair Trade programme. They have 640 women members living in 11 villages across Northern Ghana. Each year Tungteiya’s members produce 390 tons of the highest quality shea butter using traditional and sustainable techniques. In addition to the shea butter producers, Tungteiya works with around 11,000 women shea nut collectors across the region.
We were first introduced to the Tungteiya Women’s Association by The Body Shop in early 2019, to ask them to participate and be an expert stakeholder in our UK Aid funded Farmers' Voice Radio programmes that are being broadcast in a neighbouring region. The Executive Team at Tungteiya happily agreed to take part - and soon started thinking about how the approach could benefit their members and the communities they work with. Tungteiya’s Executive Team contacted The Body Shop and explained how Farmers’ Voice Radio would strengthen the sustainability of their shea supply chain- and very soon a three-way partnership was formed!
Shea butter is a high value commodity, with rising international demand for food and cosmetics. Northern Ghana is a major exporter of shea kernels and butter internationally. Shea nut collection and butter processing is largely done by women. However, outside of Tungteiya’s communities, the Ghanaian shea sector is not well organised and prices paid tend to be low. Shea trees are mostly found in bushland and increased deforestation of shea trees for charcoal and timber is not only an environmental tragedy, but also threatens the shea supply chain. Shea nut collectors and processors face many challenges; access to land, safe collecting, dependence on exploitative middlemen, quality processing, water management, appropriate storage, changing weather patterns and irregular harvests. Rural women in this region are often excluded from the information and knowledge they need, due to physical, literacy and social barriers.
Ghanaian shea nut collectors and butter processers across the Northern Region need access to timely and relevant information on shea markets and sustainable shea butter processing, in the local language of Dagbani. The new Farmers’ Voice Radio will meet this need and will focus particularly on broadcasting messages to strengthen Women’s Empowerment and Climate Resilience.
Cristina will be facilitating the Farmers’ Voice Radio training and planning workshop with participants from shea collecting and processing communities, local community radio stations and Tungteiya Women’s Association. During the workshop, the team will plan nine months of radio programmes and set up the community-based Listener Group. This Listener Group, made up of women shea nut collectors and shea butter processors, will meet regularly to generate content for the radio programmes.
We are very excited about this new project and partnership, and we can’t wait to hear the first Farmers’ Voice Radio programmes in the Dagbani language!