Invest for Jobs initiative to empower 30,000 women Shea pickers and cooperatives

A group picture after the launch

Invest for Jobs, an initiative of the Global Shea Alliance (GSA), a non- profit industry association and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has been launched in Tamale, the Northern regional capital.

The project seeks to empower over 30,000 women Shea pickers and cooperatives in quality processing and business management through training, job creation and investments.

The two year ‘Improving Women Shea Collectors’ Capacity in Ghana’ project valued at €1.5 million with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) is to promote investment in the Shea value chain, improve the capacity of women Shea collectors, and boost the profitability of the sector in Ghana.

The public-partnership in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, (GIZ) and Global Shea Alliance (GSA) will help facilitate private sector investment in the Shea industry in Ghana and also help remove any identified investment barriers by improving product quality, facilitating direct sourcing as well developing other public-private partnerships.

It also seeks to create good jobs, apprenticeships and to improving working conditions in African partner countries like Cote D’ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia.

Speaking at the launch of the project in Tamale, the Savannah Regional Minister, Saeed Muhazu Jibril, commended GIZ and GSA for their commitment towards salvaging the plight of women in the Shea sector.

According to him, improving the livelihoods of the Shea communities, women collectors and processors would help curb the unemployment rates and also encourage more of the women and youth to venture the sector.

He said, the economic development of Ghana is strongly hinged on the contribution of the women collectors and processors and therefore the commitment of government to fully support for the successful implementation of the project. “The government of Ghana is implementing various policies that invest in the environment to ensure the sustainable production of Shea,” he said.

Head of Programme, Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation at GIZ-Ghana Gerald Guskowski commended GSA and its members for the tremendous efforts invested to initiate the project in such a short time frame, especially in these extraordinary times of COVID-19. He noted that the Special Initiative of GIZ-Ghana aims to create at least 6,800 decent jobs and improve working conditions of 15,000 people in Ghana.

“Gender equality and the economic empowerment of women are deeply anchored in GIZ Africa department strategy. In a globalized and competitive world, no country can afford to forgo the talents and creativity of half of its population,” he said.

Managing Director for GSA, Aron Adu said, women cooperatives are key stakeholders in the empowerment agenda of GSA with participation buy the rural and urban women in the Shea sector increasing their economic independence through income generated from the activities. “Through public-private partnerships, the GSA promotes industry sustainability, quality practices and standards, and demand for Shea in food and cosmetics,” he said.

Managing Director of Fuji Oil Ghana, a subsidiary of Fuji Oil Europe Ronny Voorspools said, the company is committed to developing a scalable women empowerment project model that delivers value and sustainable income to women collectors, adding that to this effect, Fuji will be investing €139,000 in the project for the first year.

“We have signed a partnership with women groups to source specific Shea kernel from the cooperatives at a given quality, and to provide pre-financing before the start of the season, with impact prospects to 20,000 women,” he said.

He added that six private sector companies have committed €576,966 investments into this project to provide warehouses to enable the women collect and aggregate Shea, equipment such as scales, pallets, jute sacs, improved stoves, health and safety tools (gloves, boots) and Shea rollers to improve Shea quality and reduce the burden of women whiles they work.

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