Nelly Bassily | February 22, 2010
This story provides an exceptional example of the power of women’s co-operatives. The motto of L’Association Songtaab Yalgre is “une femme, un revenue” or “one woman, one income.” By scaling up the traditional practice of processing shea nuts into butter and creating the innovative shea fruit product Karidelice, the organization has created sustainable employment for more than 3,000 Burkinabé women. Their profits have not only improved the lives of women members; they have also been invested in the health of all women in their community. Their co-operative’s information and communications hub – Maison d’Information et de Promotion du Karité – serves the dual purpose of promoting shea products and promoting women’s health.
The website for L’Association Songtaab Yalgre (ASY) can be found here:
More information on ASY’s award-winning product, Karidelice, can be found at the following sites:
-ASY’s newsletter, with an article explaining how the organization became eligible for, and ultimately won, prizes for their innovation: http://www.songtaaba.net/journal/journal_N%203_fr.pdf.
-An article by CECI (Centre d’étude et de coopération internationale) explaining the role of Canadian industrial engineering student Chantal Bernatchez in helping ASY prepare for mass production of Karidelice: http://publication.ceci.ca/fr/bulletin/omni/articles/10925.aspx.
-A feature on ASY and Karidelice in the newsletter L’Evénement: http://www.evenement-bf.net/pages/societe_89.htm.
You may wish to profile a women’s co-operative in your area:
-What sorts of products does the group produce? Do they use these products in their homes, sell them or both?
-What traditional materials and methods does the co-operative use? What new materials or methods have they learned about or discovered?
-Has the group been able to access training or funding programs to support their endeavours? What channels did they go through to obtain this support?
-What direct benefits have members of the co-operative experienced, such as improved income or better access to markets? Has the group been able to support women in the community at large (for example, with women’s health or women’s rights initiatives)?