Shea butter is extracted from the kernel of ripe shea fruits by hand. The raw butter is heated to remove impurities and allowed to cool before it is shipped to Europe or kept in storage for the dry season. It takes one woman two days to extract 25kg of shea butter.
The Tungteiya Shea Butter Association is made up of over 475 women in 11 villages around Tamale, northern Ghana. Money from their trade has been used to fund water pipes and wells, and provide access to medical care, better housing and education.
Ghana may be rich in gold, diamonds and cocoa but the Tamale region is hot, dry, and often has only one rainy season a year rather than two. In a long dry season, villagers can't grow crops to eat or sell and have to rely on trading their stores of shea nuts or other goods to make money.
MEET A MEMBER
The Association has changed the lives of many women in this once male-dominated area. Afisheya has progressed from shea nut picker to Company Secretary at Tungteiya. "I am grateful for Tungteiya and The Body Shop," she says. "And we hopefully will continue this good relationship."
During the dry season, families often went hungry as they had no crops to eat or sell. Since trading shea butter with The Body Shop, families can sell stored shea nuts in the dry season to raise money to buy food.
The Association has set up a fund to pay for community projects. Successful ventures include building 10 nursery schools, three medical centres, latrines and washing facilities for local villages. The women are proud that they've been able to help their communities.
OUR ICONIC SHEA PRODUCTS