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Shea Butter Production – Ghana

Shea Butter Production- Ghana

How We Work

Ghana village


72% of self-employed Ghanaian women in agriculture are within the low-income classification, as opposed to 48% of their male counterparts. In particular, rural women face immense challenges in transforming their labor into more profitable self-employment activities and paid work into more secure and higher incomes. Further, only 29% of rural women are literate, though education plays a fundamental role in accessing better labor opportunities. The young rural population also faces great difficulty in joining the labor market: though youth have an employment rate of 94% and comprise 19% of Ghana’s working population, their primary employment is as unpaid agricultural family workers.3  The economic challenges stemming from difficulties joining the labor market are reflected in health and mortality statistics of the country’s youth: there are 46 deaths per every 1,000 live births for children under-five.4

Learning how to filter shea butter


Ripples USA has developed a Women’s Enterprise for Ripples Ghana OR, where women find dignified work by overcoming barriers in education, financing, and customs. In conjunction with Ripples USA, local women in Ghana are trained to start sustainable businesses using natural resources to create products that can be sold in the international market. Ripples has also partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to fund the Fair Trade and Organic audit, which leads to the certification of high-quality Shea Butter for consumers to purchase around the globe. Through the partnership, Ripples women in Ghana have connected remote African economies to the international market, injecting foreign dollars into their village economies and communities.


Ripples Ghana OR was established in 2011 to train Ripples women in Ghana on the grading and classification of Shea Butter, establishing effective methods for them to provide and produce the best quality Shea Butter for both the international and domestic markets. The program initially started with 1,200 women in 2011, and by the end of 2019, was collaborating with over 5,500 women. Every dollar earned by a Ripples Women’s Enterprise-trained woman goes to protecting and uplifting Ghanaian communities, in addition to the futures of their children. Women are able to access health care, provide nutritious food for their families, and send their children to school with the profits generated from the Shea Butter businesses, which successfully grant them access to the domestic and international labor markets.

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