Indiegogo Campaign Raising Funds for Workshops Benefiting African Shea Producers

January 25, 2013  |  

Shea Radiance, makers of a line of natural hair and body care products made with shea, has launched a month-long Indiegogo campaign in the hopes of raising $18,000 for training workshops during this year’s Global Shea Alliance Conference in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Global Shea Alliance Conference, now in its sixth year, is an annual gathering of people across the shea industry. Shea nut and shea butter are ingredients in some of the most popular personal care products on the market. This event, taking place between March 4 and March 6, brings together experts, investors, business owners, retailers, and others to discuss a variety of international issues impacting the industry.

According to a press release from the Global Shea Alliance, more than 15 million women across West Africa are part of the shea industry, whether it’s gathering nuts or making food, personal care products, or other items from the harvest. “Shea is critical to the livelihoods of millions of women in West Africa,” said Eugenia Akuete, president of the Global Shea Alliance, in a release statement.

Because the market for shea has gone international, this year’s conference theme is “Global Perspectives.” Corporations participating include The Body Shop, L’Oreal, and Burt’s Bees.

Shea Radiance first attended the conference in 2011.

“As a woman and the owner of a growing personal care brand, my interests were a little different from some of the larger companies who were in the business of buying and exporting shea nuts,” Funlayo Alabi, president and director of Shea Radiance, told us in an email. “Several of us smaller brands who worked closely with the local shea producers were concerned about the interests of the local producer.” Among the five “key priorities” of the Alliance that Alabi identifies are “rural women’s empowerment” and “rural communities development.”

With partners Dr. Georgia Duerst-Lahti from Duerst-Lahti Global and Marla Bosworth from Backporch Soaps, Shea Radiance is presenting a series of workshops at the Abuja event that will help entrepreneurs with business planning and creating better products using the various resources natural to the African landscape. The money Shea Radiance raises through the “>Indiegogo campaign will fund transportation, materials for use in the training, and other items. So far, they’ve raised nearly $1,800. There are 19 days left in the campaign.

“By offering our knowledge and expertise in creating natural based hair and body care products to small business owners in over 17 West African countries, our hope is that they in turn will buy the needed ingredients from the local shea producer in their region,” Alabi’s email continued. “The needs in rural Africa can be overwhelming. We are focusing our efforts on initiatives that can lift women out of poverty through economic opportunity.”

After the jump, we’ve included a video that illustrates what Shea Radiance would like to achieve.

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