A $5.7 million programme aimed at creating 90,000 work opportunities in the country’s shea value chain in the next three years was last Thursday launched in Tamale.
Dubbed the Shea Business Empowerment Programme (SBEP), it would also support 150 Shea cooperatives and 300 Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana to improve their business capacity, access financial products, and tackle gender-related barriers such as lack of access to childcare for women in the Shea value chain.
The programme, which was launched by the Master Card Foundation, Global Shea Alliance (GSA), would have support from other partners including Advans Ghana, Women for Change, Agrocenta, and Softribe.
Speaking at the launch, the Country Head, Master Card Foundation, Rosy Fynn, said the Shea value chain in the country was dominated by women and that presented a powerful opportunity to reduce poverty and address system barriers that limited young women in the sector from reaching their full economic and social potential.
She said it was for that reason the foundation was partnering to foster collaboration among experienced ecosystem actors to strengthen the value chain and encourage women to transition from their informal ventures into viable and sustainable business enterprises.
“This will automatically create a positive ripple effect in their families and communities,” she added.
MsFynn said that the SBEP programme aligned with the Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy in Ghana, which focused on deepening efforts in the agricultural sector to unlock dignified and fulfilling work opportunities for young Ghanaians, especially women.
The President of GSA, SimballaSylla, said the collaboration introduced important elements, including the childcare programme, which sought to unburden women collectors in rural Northern Ghana.
“It also presents Shea as an attractive business venture for students, by connecting them with cooperatives to get a deeper understanding of the value chain and opportunities within it for young people,”he added.
Mr Sylla further underscored that the collaboration highlighted the industry’s commitment and dedication to the success of women’s cooperatives and SMEs in the country’s Shea sectorat large”.
The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organisations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world.
The Global Shea Alliance is a non-profit industry association with 663 members from 38 countries, including women cooperative groups, brands and retailers, suppliers, and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). Through public-private partnerships, the GSA promotes industry sustainability, quality practices and standards and demand for Shea in food and cosmetics.