It is no secret that, despite (or perhaps because of?) her wealth of natural and human resources Nigeria is a very rich nation and all to often we take some of these less apparent treasures for granted. Take shea butter for instance.
No naturalista or indeed any proud African woman underestimates the need to keep hair and skin moisturised and shea butter is a local favourite. Whether in its solis form, as an oil or whipped into a butter, it is a popular choice for sealing in moisture and it coming from within our borders is the cherry on top.
But do you know how it is produced and who benefits from it? I will admit that I had no idea until I saw a video by Naturally Tribal, a natural skincare line that is working with a Nigerian community that produces this natural beauty essential.
Shalom Lloyd, who is partners with Nigerian physician Francis Emeghara in the venture, traveled to Nigeria to visit the Essan community and see how the shea butter they wanted for their skincare range is produced.
They explained that the collaboration with the Essan women arose from a need “to find a sustainable and quality source of Shea butter plus other ingredients for our product range, and in April 2016 our search led us to the middle-belt and northern parts of Nigeria known for its natural resources.
We were welcomed and embraced by the King of Essan and the women of Essan who demonstrated pride in their work and their unified way of living. These inspiring women produce tons of Shea butter annually by hand and told us that what they truly wanted was recognition of their value.
Watching first hand, the dedication into how the ingredients are made by the women of Essan, seeing how proud they are of what they produce, observing their heritage and legacy in producing Sshea butter, passed down from generation to generation, was truly the ‘making of us’. An
Expertise and heritage are integral to the Naturally Tribal brand hence our collaboration with Essan goes way beyond ‘just another skincare product’ our products are homage to a rich cultural identity and provide an opportunity for everyone to recognize the significance of the women of Essan’s work.
“Despite receiving billions in Aid for several decades, Africa has not achieved the levels of economic self-determination needed to enable it to deal with its own poverty, disease and chronic dependency. We believe that the Aid development model being used in Africa isn’t working. African nations are rich with natural resources and development potential. What they need is trade.
There is a proverb which we truly believe in – “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” We collaborate with the women of Essan, by sourcing our ingredients from their community in an ethical and sustainable manner, and support with infrastructure to ensure quality, and training through education,When we talk about ‘no take without give’, ‘win-win’ and ‘friendly trading’ – trade not aid is precisely what we mean.”
Any partnership that benefits women, is sustainable and fair trade and means we can enjoy our beauty products with a clear conscience is a winner in my book! For more information and to help support their collaboration with the women of Essan visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/59155766/naturally-tribal-skincare-uk
Naturally Tribal will be launching on 26th February 2017. Free tickets to their launch are available via www.naturallytribalgroup.com.