Imagine a group of women tirelessly working to provide for their families. They labor in the hot sun, out in the rural northern regions of Uganda, to harvest and process shea butter. These women are the lifeblood of many small villages where they provide much-needed income to their households and communities.
The potential of shea butter farming by these women farmers is immense, yet it has not been fully tapped into due to numerous barriers. From poor access to financial services to low access and usage of digital solutions, challenges like this have led to low prices of shea nut related products, poor quality of shea nut kernels and low digital uptake by women.
But despite these challenges, with the right support, there is a way forward that could empower these women and unlock her potential through shea butter production. In this article we’ll be sharing how Livara, through her mother company, Nyowe Ventures, is empowering women through shea butter so they can become self-sufficient entrepreneurs.
Have you ever wondered where shea butter comes from? It’s an ingredient that is found in many natural skin care and beauty products, and it has some amazing benefits. In fact, it’s been used for centuries to help soothe and protect skin.
The answer lies in the women shea butter farmers of Uganda. Shea butter is derived from the fruit of the African shea tree, which can take up to 25 years to mature. You may want to let that that sink in.
These shea trees grow in districts of northern Uganda like Kitgum, Agago, Pader, Otuke, Kabong, Kotido and Abim which make up a part of the African shea belt.
The women in the Shea belt extending from West to East Africa, from Guinea and Senegal to South Sudan and Uganda are the primary harvesters of this tree, manually collecting and processing its nuts for sale at local markets.
The nuts are collected by hand, and go through a series of cracking, crushing, roasting and grinding. The butter oils are separated manually in large vessels. The creamy shea butter obtained is ladled from the top of the pots and put in cool places to harden.
Did you know that shea butter provides plenty of opportunities for sustainable development, and improved livelihoods? Shea butter is an important ingredient in a lot of beauty products, and the global market for it is estimated to grow. That’s great news for women farmers who are harvesting the rich nut from shea butter trees!
Nyowe Ventures, Livara’s mother company, is implementing a Women Economic Empowerment project by United Nations Capital Development Fund to empower 100,000 shea farmers(80% women) in Northern Uganda over the next 2 years. Nyowe Ventures is a professional company producing natural and organic oils and butters with special focus on pure unrefined shea butter.
Nyowe Ventures has so far supported women shea farmers by buying from them shea nuts and shea butter. We are now looking to digitize their activities and train them in financial literacy.
Let’s take a look at some of the goals we’re looking to achieve in the next 24 months in our drive to empower the women there:
It’s no secret that empowering women in Uganda can unlock the potential to bring communities out of poverty. But did you know that women shea butter farmers are some of the most powerful agents of change there? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that come with empowering these amazing women.
When women are empowered as shea butter farmers, it helps to create a more equal income distribution amongst men and women.
This not only ensures that everyone has access to an income, but it also helps to create a more sustainable model for growth and development in their community.
Women shea butter farmers are also essential for creating a more sustainable model for economic growth in Uganda. Women are more likely to invest money back into their community and create real and lasting economic change. This in turn can help break the cycle of poverty in affected communities.
When women are able to gain access to an independent income through shea butter farming, it gives them far more opportunities for education.
This means their children can have access to better educations as well, which is essential for building a brighter future for generations and communities throughout Uganda.
Shea butter provides the potential to empower women farmers in Uganda and the entire shea belt. Women shea butter farmers in Uganda have the power to create a more equitable future, and by investing in them, we can help make a difference.
As we celebrate the International Women’s Day, let’s not forget about the amazing women out there responsible for making the shea butter we use. Happy Women’s Day!