Ripples Ghana Fair Trade Certification and Sustainable Shea Butter Production Training Project in Northern Ghana.
Ripples Ghana Fair Trade Certification and Sustainable Shea Butter Production Training Project in Northern Ghana.
The Ripples Ghana Shea Butter Project helps women living below the poverty line in Ghana on less than 2 dollars a day by providing a way for them to generate income for themselves and their families. Once the women’s training is complete, Ripples Ghana also assists them with managing and developing their own businesses so that they will be able to sustain themselves financially and help support their communities.

Fairtrade certification would greatly increase the women’s access to international markets, as consumers in developed countries often seek out products with Fairtrade Certification as evidence of high quality products. A study by Racula Dragusandu and Nathan Nunn of Harvard University in 2014 concluded that Fairtrade Certification greatly increases women’s access to credit and international markets, which will also boost the success of the women’s businesses. With a steady income, the women will be able to afford education and healthcare for their children, and education will lead to increased income and community improvement – in 2017, 37% of poor households in Ghana had very little access to education (Figure 4.1), demonstrating a link between poverty and lack of education. The project will help change the women’s futures and their children’s futures as well.

The primary objective of the proposed project: Our first primary objective is to promote Fair Trade Certification for products made by Ghanaian women in the Shea Butter project, which would allow them further access to the international market. Fair Trade certification would significantly increase the women’s profits, as they would raise their prices to standard Fairtrade minimum prices. They would also have increased access to credit to help with managing their businesses. The income they earn from their businesses would allow them to re-invest in their communities by funding education, infrastructure, and providing more employment for youth within their own businesses.

Our second primary objective with this grant to help train 210 more women in Sustainable Shea Nut Picking. Participating in Shea Butter training will give the women a chance to break free of generational poverty and build their own futures. Ripples Foundation USA will be co-financing this aspect of the project - they will be responsible for half the costs of training the women in Shea Butter production (GEF/SGP will fund the training of 105 women, 7 groups of 15 women).

The full description of the rationale (justification) for the project: Our project has grown by 320% from helping 1200 women in 2011 to working with over 5000 women in 2019 with the Shea Butter project, and we anticipate an increase of at least 20% of participants each year. We’ve turned away 50% of new applicants during this period, demonstrating a significant amount of interest in the project from communities.

Securing Fair Trade Certification will increase and possibly double the women’s income for selling and exporting the same quantity of Shea butter. Fair Trade will also enable Ripples Foundation USA to secure larger market and bigger chains for the women’s products. With Fairtrade Certification, Ripples Ghana will be able to accept more applicants to join our small stakeholder Program - we expect a 50% annual increase in registrations.

Training the women in Sustainable Shea Nut Picking and Shea butter production will encourage positive attitudes to food and product sustainability. More women will be empowered financially and socially from their participation in the project, and their increased income will help secure their children’s futures and assist the development of their communities. They will also learn how to work smarter to support themselves and improve the quality of their lives.

Project Output
1. Fairtrade Certification secured for at least 210 women households to increase access to international markets.
2. 210 women in the Shea Butter business trained to manage business and generate profits to support themselves and their families financially

1.4 Description of Project Activities

Output 1: Fairtrade Certification secured for 210 households to gain access to international markets

Planned Activities
1.1 Train women in Shea Nut Picking and Shea Butter making Process
1.1.1 Organising and grouping women based on their locations and activities (collectors and processors) for Fairtrade training activities
Duration: 1 week
1.1.2 Training the women in groups of fifteen women in identifying organic and Fairtrade Shea Parkland (away from farmland), also involves Practical Sessions on Shea nut picking
Duration: 1 month
1.1.3 Training shea nut collectors on organic and Fair Trade Shea nuts processing
Duration: 1 month
1.1.4 Training executives and women on organic storage and handling facilities
Duration: 1 month
1.1.5 Training executives in record-keeping and action plan for Fairtrade Certification, volunteers help out as well
Duration: 1 day program per community
1.1.6 Training executives and women in the safety management practices involved inorganic nuts picking and processing
Duration: 5 day program per community
1.1.7 Training of women on transporting organic and Fair Trade Shea nuts from farmland to the warehouses, where they are stored
Duration: 3-4 months
1.1.8 Training executives and women in labeling science, danger science, waste management and safety precautions at our laboratories
Duration: 1 month
1.1.9 Training the women in grinding operations in learning how grind the nuts at our grinding mills
Duration: 1 week
1.1.10 Training the women on how to process Shea Butter according to internationally accepted standards. Involves processes such as sorting, washing, shade drying, crushing, shade dry crushed nuts, roasting, milling, kneading (manual and machine), skim crude butter, cook emulsion, skim off dirt, oil collection, filtering, stirring and solidification, packaging and standardization.
Duration: 1 month or more, depending on the women’s progress, sometimes it’s hard for them to adapt to the training
1.1.11 Training the women in packing and labeling of the final products based on international standards
Duration: 3 days for every community
1.1.12 Assigning codes to trained Shea butter processors and Shea nut pickers and collectors
Duration: 1 week
1.1.13 Training of warehouse managers on stock management of Shea nuts and warehouse management practices
Duration: 1 week
1.1.14 Training in sales in Fairtrade Markets (how to sell products to different buyers, buyers who only want organic shea butter, price negotiation)
Duration: 1 week
1.1.15 Training on quality management (how you should improve quality -> packaging, clear containers, using aprons, protective equipment)
Duration: 1 month
1.1.16 Labelling of the processing centres and putting in place visible warning signs, fire extinguishers, First Aid Kit and other protective measures for the safety of the women
Duration: 1 week
1.1.17 Testing of the Shea Butter by Ghana authorities 3-times a year - an officer from Ghana Standard authorities visits the community and our laboratories to make sure the Shea Butter actually organic and the project is following standard safety precautions
Duration: 1-2 weeks or 2-3 weeks, can have a lot of delays

The women’s training will take place during the first year of the project, while the monitoring and auditing of the program will take place during the second year. The women’s training are split into 4 modules: Theory of Sustainable Harvest, Practice of Sustainable Harvest, Data Collection, and Monitoring for Success. They will also receive additional training on Fairtrade standards in preparation for external audits.

1.2 Support women in Fairtrade Certification Process for Shea Butter Products
1.2.1 Training of women and supervisors on monitoring and supervising production procedures of the organic and Fairtrade standards in preparation for Fair Trade external audit.
- Duration: 1 week
1.2.2 Inspection by external auditors (ECOCERT) on the practice of Fairtrade standard procedures. The Certification body can visit at any time to check on how organic standards and procedures are practiced, generally there is one visit per year.
- Duration: 1 month
1.2.3 Correcting non-conformities if there are any after the audit has taken place, adjusting our processes based on feedback.
- Duration: 1-2 weeks
1.2.4 Awarding of Fairtrade Certification via Ecocert after successful audit
- Duration: 2 weeks
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Project Snapshot

Ripples OR Ghana
Area Of Work:
Land Degradation
Grant Amount:
US$ 26,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 37,000.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 55,500.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Significant Participation of Indigenous Peoples
All beneficiaries are indigenous people.
Notable Community Participation
All of Ripples’ projects, including the Ripples Ghana Shea Butter Project are uniquely designed for a community’s specific needs. We hold Town Hall meetings to discuss and co-design the project with input from the women. This ensures program sustainability and also provides the women with increased agency. The women are involved in all stages of the project, from training to the selling of shea butter. Ripples’ operations also function at community level - we are involved in many African villages, which include: Kumbuyili, Gumo, Salamba, Dulzugu Zangbalung bihi, Kogni, Katariga, Wayamba, Chanzhegu, Zugu, Dabogushei, Malshegu, and Gizaa Gundaa.
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Number of CBOs / NGOs participated / involved in SGP project 2
Number of CBOs / NGOs formed or registered through the SGP project 2
Number of women participated / involved in SGP project 350
Number of indigenous people participated/involved in SGP project 350
Hectares of land sustainably managed by project 1000
Number of national policies informed in land degradation focal area 1
Increase in household income by increased income or reduced costs due to SGP project 100
Number of households who have benefited* from SGP project 350

SGP Country office contact

Dr. George Buabin Ortsin
Ms. Lois Sarpong
+233 505740909


UNDP, Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme P.O. Box 1423
Accra, Greater Accra, 233-302
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