Rita Of The Bandisuglo Cooperative
Rita is one of 118 members of the Bandisuglo Cooperative in the Gapagnarigu community in Northern Ghana. The women of Bandisuglo co-op are some of the 700 women in rural northern Ghana who play an integral role in providing raw materials for the Nubian Heritage products you know and love. Rita is the nucleus of her family—a mother, a daughter, a wife, sister and friend. She is a business woman, a dreamer, and she serves the interests of her community first. Every day, Rita walks hundreds of meters to carry up to 20 gallons of water on her head to make shea butter. Water is an essential ingredient in the crafting of the shea butter, made from nuts found on shea trees in the ecologically sensitive east to west band of central Africa. Rita will usually make more than one trip to collect the heavy gallons, a process that may cause serious health risks over time, as well as disrupts production efficiency of the co-op and its workers. Yet, she is hard working, she is consistent, and she is dedicated to both self-empowerment and the empowerment of her community.
In an effort to continue investing in women like Rita, Sundial and Nubian Heritage are paying to source water from municipal water main lines directly to the shea butter processing centers and their communities. This will ease the tremendous burden of drawing water for women at the co-op. This will give surrounding communities access to the water, and all of the women and their families will benefit. Additionally, Sundial and Nubian Heritage have bought all the women’s co-op groups in Ghana 5,000 liter water tanks to collect and store rain water and mitigate any shortages that may occur with city water supply. Access to water opens up new commercial opportunities, such as small gardening for income generation and processing other vegetable products into finished goods. This helps the co-ops obtain more business, expanding their shea butter orders to other customers.
Rita's dedication and painstaking work have helped to mold this brand into all that it is. We are thankful for her, and the many women of our co-ops, and will continue to work to strengthen and deepen our relationship with them. And as always, thank you, Nubian family, for helping us to enrich the lives of the women of our co-ops.