Dipaliya Women’s Association
Dipaliya Women’s Association is a group of 1000 women in Tamale, Ghana Northern Region, who have set up a Cooperative Farming Community. The group is led by three women and supported by Mr Umar Mohammed; a young Dagomba (a large tribe in Ghana) who is committed to his community. The women lease land and buy seeds from the yield of Shea butter. Shea butter is a typical local product.
Dipaliya’s women think it is important to preserve their traditional values. The cooperative was set up to give women in the region an economically independent life. Most women are single (so poor) and mother. Dipaliya works without subsidy because the women want to give their children shelter, food and education on their own. The’ Dipaliya Community Fund’ was set up for this purpose. This way the women can save and borrow together in the spirit of Dagomba family sharing tradition.
Dipaliya Shea butter
Dipaliya Shea butter is traditionally handmade by hand. Shea butter is pressed out of the nut of the Shea tree. Shea butter contains many nutritious substances for the skin, such as vitamins A and E. It is used against aging skin; protects light from UV radiation and helps with eczema/psoriasis, insect bites, allergic reactions, dry skin and dry lips. Shea butter is also used in chocolate and is a good alternative in the kitchen for coconut butter.
Almost all Shea butter on sale in the Netherlands is sophisticated Shea butter. Dipaliya Shea butter is unrefined; it contains only the natural substances from the Shea nut. Dipaliya Shea butter is a pure natural product of high quality.
Dipaliya Shea Europe
In 2014 the women from Dipaliya have borrowed money to buy their own grinding mill. The mill saves them 75% of their production costs and provides extra income, renting out the mill to others. In order to repay the loan for the mill we are selling Dipaliya Sheabutter in Europe. The extra money earned is deposited in the community fund to build a Sheabutter center and for the purchase of an own piece of land and organic seeds for the food crops.
The production of Dipaliya Shea butter
To finance investments in Dipaliya Womens Association, we sell Dipaliya unrefined Shea butter in Europe. In 2014, we bought a mill that reduces the production costs for women by 75%. In addition, the mill generates extra income by renting it out. We are currently investing in bricks for a Shea butter centre and we are saving for a piece of land for organic arable farming. Dipaliya Shea butter is FairChain; you buy directly from the women of Dipaliya.
The production of shea butter is a labour-intensive process.
Dipaliya Shea butter is processed in 9 steps. Each individual step is thoroughly inspected to maintain our high quality standards. Dipaliya Shea butter is a traditional handmade product. It is made by local women in Tamale according to a centuries-old tradition. Dipaliya produces the original white Shea butter that is natural and organic; nothing has been added or removed from the original product. Dipaliya Shea butter has been processed according to the principles of the circular economy, in the sense that everything is used and there is no waste.
Steps in the making of Dipaliya Traditionally Handcraft made White Shea butter are:
- The Shea nuts are picked and collected by the women in Saakuba village, near Tamale
- The Shea nuts are brought to a grinding mill and are crushed in the mill
- The crushed Shea nuts are heated over fire in special drums and dried in the sun
- The dried product is brought to the butter mill for further processing; the shells of the nuts are separated and reused as firewood for the ovens.
- The product that comes out of the mill is turned into butter by turning it by hand. This process takes several hours to a day.
- The first butter is cooked in drums to separate the oil from the small pieces of shells and to create a clean, natural product. Dirt and the foam are removed by hand and the butter is filtered, which gives the white Shea butter.
- The unclear Shea butter is processed separately and sold as butter to cook with. The remains of the foam are reused as firewood for the ovens.
- The white Shea butter is separated from the residue material. The residue is reused as firewood for the ovens.
- The white Shea butter is double packed into plastic bags and put into boxes of 25 or 12,5 kilogram each.
The drums that are up for replacement are sold for reuse. The pots used for cooking that need replacement are sold; often for reuse by other Shea butter makers in the villages.