Baraka was founded on the belief that we could organize a business value chain
that would create benefit all the way along, from the producers through to our
end users, and would do it in a way that would benefit all of us, including the
founders and operators of Baraka.
I think we are getting there. Not perfect by a long way – still lots to learn and
plenty of room for improvement, but we are making solid progress. Together.
With your encouragement, support and feedback, I think we are doing that. Your
purchases are having a direct impact on the women and families that make
Baraka Shea Butter. And many of you are using that community impact and
connection in your own marketing, helping you to sell more products and connect
more directly with your customers and markets.
I’ve just returned from a month in Ghana, a month spent mostly in the north and
with the amazing women that make Baraka Shea Butter. So many came and told
me the difference that your purchases are making in their lives, how they are able
to provide for their children and families, how they don’t have to travel to cities
to try and earn some cash income, how life at home has improved, and how
proud they are to be able to make a product that all of you value so much.
Your feedback (and we share your comments and reviews with them) encourages
them to work harder on quality and consistency and do more to support you.
And, it goes both ways. We hear from so many of you about how you are
motivated to do more, knowing the impact it has on real people and real
communities. We hear you tell us how your customers value your products more
because of that impact. Many of you tell us you can feel the impact in the energy
of the Baraka Shea Butter you use – energy that goes from their hands to yours
and to your customers.
I feel that we are getting the model right, it is evolving in the right direction.
The more value we create for the producers, the more value is available for
Baraka’s customers to capture through their products and creations, and
the more they can connect with their customers and markets. And, of course, the more everyone buys and uses the better Baraka does itself
(and trust me, we are in this for the money too – I love to have an impact,
but I need to pay my bills and support my family too).
It is great to think that the Baraka Shea Butter business model allows all of
us to be part of a value chain that serves our business and personal needs
while simultaneously giving the women of Kperisi the opportunity to earn
income. They don’t ask for charity, just for a chance to work and be paid
All this leads to the Annual Meeting of the Kperisi Women’s Group to
review Baraka Shea Butters Community Certified Fair Trade endorsement
for 2018. An exciting time I am proud to announce that the women unanimously confirmed Baraka as a Community Certified Fair Trade partner (see excerpt below from their minutes). And watch for an upcoming video from one of the women’s leaders as she discusses the meeting and their Fair Trade certification.
It was humbling and emotional as they recounted our history over the past
10+ years and what we have accomplished together (and together with
your support) and they expressed their appreciation for the support.
I explained that the purchases we make, the price we pay in excess of
market prices and the direct support we are able to offer is only because of
the continued support of the larger Baraka community. All of you who
purchase Baraka Shea Butter contribute directly to this.
Your purchases make a difference.
Excerpt from the Annual Meeting Minutes...
The meeting discussed the operations during the past year, which was the
first year under the Community Certified Fair-Trade system they
established when they decided to take control over their own Fair Trade
The women discussed how they have worked with Baraka Shea Butter and
Wayne Dunn for over 10 years and have had a very fair, productive and
valuable relationship. In addition to always paying 15-20% above market
price and providing ad-hoc support to development and education the
women noted that Baraka has financed and supported major projects in the
• Provision of school uniforms and school supplies for all school age
children in the community;
• Engaging a trainer and organizing a productivity and income generation
• Facilitating the construction of storage sheds and a work area;
• Provision of an organic grinding mill and processing shed
• Support for rehabilitation of the Chief’s Palace
• Support to community events and activities
• Provision of Shea Butter processing equipment including roasters and
The women agreed to continue with the Community Certified Fair Trade
process and to confirm Baraka Shea Butter to use the Community Certified
Fair Trade logo. This was affirmed by unanimous consent of all present at
Thank you for being part of this exciting journey with us. Together we are all
making a difference, for all of us in the value chain.The women agreed to continue with the Community Certified Fair Trade process and to confirm Baraka Shea Butter to use the Community Certified Fair Trade logo. This was affirmed by unanimous consent of all present at the meeting.