Nikkol group Nikkol Group News Letter

 

Notebooks for Village Children

Shea butter provides access to education for young Ghanaians.

Before Independence

When a Ghanaian mother gives birth to a child, following the old tradition, she applies shea butter on the skin of her newborn baby.
The Republic of Ghana, with a population of approximately 25 million, is famous for its cocoa and shea production. For ages, women in Ghana have been involved in the collection of shea nuts. Currently, approximately 600,000 women are participating in shea nuts collection and processing yearly. However, since there isn’t any systematic management, their work results in very low daily income and remains very far from what one would call “business.”


Beginning of Independence for Ghanaian Women

“StarShea Network” is an NPO that decided to change the status quo. They created a new system to provide fair benefits to the women involved in shea butter industry. The goals of “StarShea Network” are raising the income of Ghanaian women, improving the working environment and developing the social welfare system. The new shea butter manufacturing project started in 2009. NIKKOL GROUP began supporting this project in 2013.
All participants of the project are provided with necessary funds and are linked with buyers during the autumn sale season. Traditionally individual businesses gradually transformed into some sort of cooperative activity, where women work in an organized way at all levels, from nuts collection to processing. As a result, the quality of shea butter production is managed much better, and the women who participate in the project began to develop business skills and receive stable income.


From Being Provided to Providing

Last month, we received a letter from Ghana about a community of 133 women who received 140 euros each as an extra bonus for their high quality shea butter production. In rural areas of Ghana 140 euros is a big sum of money. After a discussion, the mothers of the village decided to spend the bonus to buy notebooks for the local school. For the children in this area notebooks are very valuable. With the bonus, 640 notebooks were purchased and were distributed to 515 students and teachers.
The news of this beautiful act of cooperation spread all over Ghana. Why didn’t the women simply spend their money individually, like they typically did before? What changed in their minds? Obviously, it is an example of evolving perspective: from being provided to providing. The women’s work, which developed from a daily-employment-like “transient labor” to a continual stable income “business,” brought forth that change in perspective. The “notebook project” is now expanding to the surrounding communities.


True Wealth

What does it mean for a country or a society to become wealthy? Not only does it involve “financial wealth,” but it also means developing systems that would create “intellectual wealth,” that can be passed on to the coming generations. We feel that “The StarShea Network Project” in Ghana is generating new types of the wealth that really changes people’s lives.
Currently 10,000 Ghanaian women are involved in the project and the expansion plan has a target of 20,000 by 2017.
The corporate mission of NIKKOL GROUP is “to make people’s lives better.” We are proud and happy to be part of the “The StarShea Network Project” through import and distribution of high quality shea butter to our customers in Japan.

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