The women of South Sudan are being neglected by aid donors that assumed that the return to war prevents anything other than emergency assistance. It is important to support a group of women able to say “We will take power in spite of the conflict”.
Many suffered during 40 years of two major conflicts, were kidnapped as 9 and 11 year olds from their mother’s huts, forced into becoming child soldiers, and, for many, young wives and mothers. Now free, they face the highest hurdle to earning income, being 1000-1600 miles from the nearest port (Mombasa).
Their asset is the East Africa Shea tree that grows prolifically across South Sudan and northern Uganda, with nuts that produce the highest quality Shea butter in the world. This “champagne of Shea butters” is worth over $1,000/kg (2.2 lbs) as a skin care product.
The women producers said NO to exploitative offers from major cosmetic companies.
They decided instead on a women’s owned retail brand, and decided to take control of distribution from the tree to the door of the foreign retail stores.
Rather than take the cruel offer of $6/kg (2.2 lbs) paid in Mombasa (which gave them income of less than $1/kg) they will earn$25-$100/kg.
STAND UP FOR THEIR RIGHT TO BE HEARD AND TO BE FINANCED
Conflict will not prevent this business. There are 30, 000 square miles of Nilotica Shea trees in the currently peaceful southwest of South Sudan. Peace in northern Uganda means there is no risk of supply interruptions. Leonora Okello (2nd from right in photo above) leads the 700 trained Ugandans who built the WOMEN’S OWNED NILOTICA SHEA (WONS) business reaching out to South Sudanese women producers to resume training of trainers in Kajo Keiji.
WONS now owns a UK and US import company called WONS Importing and Marketing.
A world class brand design team has created the WONS brand material telling the story of 1000 years of women collecting and processing nuts.
Superior to all other Shea butters, Nilotica Shea forms the base of make unique skin care products that meet high end skin care market standards.
Leonora Okello is leading the WONS team buying the best nuts from women members at TRIPLE the current price.
Based on highly favorable consumer responce, the WONS skin care product is being test-marketed in 2015.
WONS will launch the product on the world market, capturing $25/kg. for the women in the first year, rising to $100/kg. by the sixth year. Light Years IP helped Leonora and WONS develop the design and implement the WONS initiative.
Leonora (2nd from left, with helpers) learned as a girl to judge high quality nuts and learned to use the butter for healing skin damage, protecting baby skin and many other uses. She says “we own the brand, so it is in our hands to built our future through quality”.
HOW CAN I HELP?
- Send your message of emotional support to email@example.com, which will be passed to Leonora to share with other women producers.
- Place a pre-order for WONS brand skin care products by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
- Join our campaign to bring their case to the attention of aid donors to break the mental logjam holding them back.
- Give women “Quality Packs” that include jute bags and drying mats to increase quality during the initial drying process.
- $100.00 donation buy 12 packs so that 12 women can increase quality.
- $25.00 donation buys 3 packs so that 3 women can increase quality.