Dear Partners, Friends and Supporters of Fair Shea,
My name is Frank Ekow Arkorful, Founder and Director, Fair Shea. We all must admit that the world has had to face an unprecedented test. Hundreds of thousands of people fell ill from COVID-19. Societies, economies, businesses, organizations and individuals were at a nose-dive. There was therefore the need to respond decisively, innovatively and together to address especially the socio-economic devastation that COVID-19 caused the world. A response that focused on the most affected: women, older persons, youth, low-wage workers, small and medium enterprises, the informal sector and vulnerable groups especially those in deprived communities, humanitarian and conflict settings.
At Fair Shea, we ensured our response was to match the scale of the crisis in our beneficiary community in a coordinated and comprehensive manner all guided by our vision and mission. I am therefore happy to take you on a short, interesting tour of Fair Shea’s activities during the second quarter of 2022.
I appreciate your support and partnerships in empowering and unearthing potentials within shea communities in Ghana. I wish you the very best in the 3rd Quarter of 2022.
In the context of African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) and the need to add value to local products to ensure such products meet internal standards for certification and access to international market, Fair Shea Ghana has been promoting fair trade certification for shea butter and organic body and cosmetics products made by Ghanaian women in the shea butter industry.
Fair Shea’s mission is to provide economic and social prosperity to disadvantaged women in northern Ghana, by offering resources and training on the different stages of Shea Butter production and handcrafting, and also on helping women develop their own businesses in selling Shea Butter. Under the project, women are trained and guided in the process of Shea Butter production, grading of high-quality Grade ‘A’ Shea Butter and making of organic body and cosmetic products.
While the women are hoping to have access to the international shea butter markets through Fair Shea, the significant obstacle to the benefit associated with increased production is the deteriorating health conditions of the women producers due to the drudgery nature of the shea butter production process. The rudimentary technology being used in the shea business is drudgery, slow with low recovery rates and antiquated. The shea butter business is energy sapping resulting in the deteriorating health of the women.
In order to address this challenge, the organization is trying to infuse technology into the production of quality organic shea butter while also prioritizing the health of all beneficiaries for the economic and social prosperity of the rural poor and marginalized women in Northern Ghana. For this reason, we have been engaging in sensitization, health checks and health insurance for all our beneficiaries and members of the Malshegu community.
Medical screening in May 2022
As Mahatma Gandhi stated, “It is health that is the real wealth, and not pieces of gold and silver”. As such, Fair Shea in the month of May 2022 collaborated with Ghana Health Service to organize a Medical Health Screening in the Malshegu community. The screening was carried out for 216 members of the community including our direct beneficiaries as a gateway to assuring them that, not only is the organization looking to equip them with knowledge and skills, but also to prioritize their health. It is therefore important for them to replicate this by prioritizing hygiene in their homes, workplaces and community. Screening was done for Hepatitis B, blood pressure, liver and kidney diseases as well as ovarian and cervical cancer.
Present at the event was the Assembly woman of the Malshegu community Ms. Bibiana Wumpini, representatives of the Chief and elders of Malshegu community and its environs, television and radio stations as well as representatives of health organizations. The medical screening started with a thorough education by Abu Seidu, a medical laboratory scientist from the Bill Clinical Laboratories and Tamale Central Hospital on the need to regularly check in at a clinic or hospital for check-up. This he said helps to detect medical issues early enough for the needed care and treatment to be given as this can avert likely serious complications and high cost of treatment.
Vaccination exercise in May and June 2022
The months of May and June also offered our beneficiaries and residents of Malshegu an opportunity to get vaccinated for Hepatitis B. The exercise, which was organized in collaboration with Bill Medical laboratories, was fruitful. According to the Assembly woman and residents of Malshegu, Fair Shea happened to be the first NGO in the history of the community to organize such an exercise. Over 100 participants received both the first and second doses of the vaccine in May and June. Beneficiaries will receive the third and final dose in the month of July.
Medical Insurance in June 2022
After the Medical Screening in May 2022, many health-related conditions became known to some participants. Doctors on site offered education on how to manage and care for oneself.
With many financially unable to afford the high cost of medical treatment and care, the organization through partnership with the Health Insurance Authority in June 2022 embarked on a mass health insurance registration for all our 116 beneficiaries and some members of the community.
Generally, the entire activities in May and June were tremendously impactful as more than 200 inhabitants of Malshegu including our beneficiaries benefited.
Fair Shea is immensely grateful to the Ghana Health Service, Bil Clinical Laboratories, the Chief, Assembly Woman and inhabitants of Malshegu and the dedicated team of Fair Shea for making this month-long activity a success.
We are of the firm conviction that the support given us by the community thus far is indicative of greater collaborative efforts to achieve our vision.
Fair Shea has always held the belief that when women are given support and opportunities, they gain extraordinary self-confidence and this translates into national development.
Together we can all help create equal opportunities for women in every aspect of life.
Sanitation and hygiene project
Open defecation, improper waste disposal and hygiene are challenges facing most rural communities in Ghana especially communities in Northern Ghana. This has led to sanitation related diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, intestinal worm infection, polio among others. The situation is no exception in our beneficiary community of Malshegu in Tamale which has led to a reduction in the quality of life, family incomes and loss of productivity.
The organization will therefore be organizing a 6 months training in Sanitation and Hygiene for 60 women shea nut pickers and shea butter producers as well as 150 primary, junior and senior high students from three selected schools. At the end of the project, it is our hope that beneficiaries will become more conscious of themselves and the environment and take immediate steps by acting.
Also, the construction of 6 twin eco-san community toilets and 12 hand washing basins at strategic locations within the community means that, sanitation related diseases in the community will be reduced by 50%, household savings will increase by 20% as more people will not channel excess money into healthcare, less pressure on government to spend more money on sanitation and health related diseases in the region as well as easy access to eco-san toilets and hand washing facilities for 90% residents of Malshegu.
Value added organic products training
Women Shea butter producers in Ghana contribute a chunk to the development of the country. They are however not benefiting enough from their contribution as they are faced with issues of marginalization, exploitation by intermediaries, abuse in their homes, high debts and lack of skill to add more value to their raw butter.
The organization will therefore be organizing a 6 months intensive skill training program in organic body and cosmetic products for 60 women shea nut pickers and shea butter producers in Malshegu community. After the training, beneficiaries will by supported to form a cooperative where Fair Trade market opportunities will be created for them to access the most profitable areas of the value chain.
Within the short to medium term, it is expected that about 180 direct dependants of the 60 trained beneficiaries will benefit from the improved incomes, about 120 children of the beneficiaries can attend good schools and eat good meals as well as 200 indirect beneficiaries also benefitting through creation of jobs.
Youth in agriculture training
Ghana spends over 750 million dollars annually to import foods. As the cost of import keeps rising at an alarming rate, there is the fear of food insecurity if something is not done immediately. Majority of the countries youth prefer formal works even if it pays little as agriculture is seen to be a sector occupied by the less privileged. For this reason, more abled youth are migrating to cities or using unapproved routes to foreign countries in search of well-paying jobs leaving behind less abled people to provide food produce for the growing population.
To mitigate this problem, the organization will be organizing a 6 months training in sustainable agriculture and agribusiness for 30 unemployed youth in Tamale, Northern Ghana.
The impact of this project is that, the region will see a decrease in migration of youth majority of who will venture into agriculture since it will be lucrative, family incomes rising by 60%, increased food security in the region and country as well as a greater number of communities in Northern Ghana no longer depending entirely on government and organizations to create and bring employment and development to them.
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Dear Partners, Supporters and Friends,
Fair Shea would not be possible without your continued support. Because of you, we are able to keep Fair Shea running. On behalf of our team and beneficiaries – the women, youth, children and communities – I say THANK YOU. Wishing you a prosperous 3rd Quarter 2022.
Frank Ekow Arkorful.
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THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT.
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