Women in the shea industry: The case of Kusawgu in the Northern Region of Ghana

Augustina Naami, Emmanuel Kwabena Naami

Abstract


: This research sought to highlight the experiences of women in the shea industry in Kusawgu in Ghana. Recommendations to enhance and sustain the industry were also explored. A total of 60 women from four shea production groups, who lived in Kusawgu, participated in focus group discussions. The data was first analysed separately by the two researchers. Results were then compared to reconcile differences. The study demonstrates that the shea industry undoubtedly provided means of livelihood, self-dignity and respect for the women. Positive outcomes for working in groups include quick processing; sense of belonging and social capital; security and peace of mind; and skills development. However, lack of access to microfinance, travelling for longer distances,  the period of time required to get water and fuel-wood, gender-based land ownership discrimination, and extinction of shea trees hamper production and income. Regardless of these challenges the women demonstrated resiliency by their continuous work in the industry. Due to the potential of the shea industry to reduce poverty among women, government should work hand-in-hand with the traditional authority to develop measures to sustain the industry. Social work practitioners could build the capability of the women in the shea industry to access existing pro-poor programmes.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1921/swssr.v20i1.1273

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