Akoma Skincare

The Akoma Cooperative Multi-purpose Society

Akoma UK works with the Akoma Cooperative Multipurpose Society, a non-government organisation, to run its own purpose-built cooperative in Ghana (as well as work with other cooperatives in the country) to manufacture the best-quality raw shea butter alongside other products, and import these to the UK. The cooperative is Fairtrade and organic certified.

Where is the cooperative?

The cooperative is in the village of Pusu-Namogo, near Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region of Ghana. This region is the second poorest in the country withapproximately 70% of the population working in agriculture. Illiteracy rates are high, education services are poor, access to health services is restricted and diseases such as malaria, kwashiorkor (a form of malnutrition caused by lack of protein in the diet) and beriberi (a nervous system ailment caused by vitamin B1 deficiency) are rife.

The cooperative was built to give local people, in particular women, the opportunity to rise out of poverty.

How does the cooperative work?

As well as building the facilities to process the shea nuts in Pusu-Namogo, the Akoma Cooperative Multipurpose Society was formed to run the operation.

Fundamentally, the cooperative is for women who want to work to improve quality of life for themselves and their family, and this is part of our mission to help change a million lives for the better.

Once they have joined the cooperative, women earn an income by collecting, processing and selling shea nuts and shea butter. The majority of this work is done during harvest time, from June to October. To guarantee the women an income all year round, the Akoma cooperative is diversifying into other crafts and skills including: dressmaking, soap making and cocoa butter production.

What are the benefits for the community?

Part of the remit of the cooperative is to see that the whole village benefits from the investment. Programmes are being put into place to ensure:

Women are empowered to create a better future for their families through training schemes and employment opportunities.

  • Training includes areas such as: health and safety at work, disease control.
  • Knowledge of government or charitable schemes for generating income is shared.
  • Children receive the help they need to protect them from disease.
  • Communities have better facilities, e.g. libraries, schools, clinics, sanitary conveniences.
  • Expert local knowledge is sought to make best use of available resources in the community.
  • Respite care is available for the elderly or infirm so that a good quality of life is possible for all.

What is produced at the cooperative?

The Akoma facility currently produces around 45 tonnes of shea butter a year, of which 15 tonnes is certified organic. It can produce around eight tonnes of shea butter a day and has the storage capacity for approximately 12,000 bags of shea nuts. The cooperative is capable of producing:

  • Raw shea butter
  • Ghanaian black soap
  • Cocoa butter
  • Palm oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Textiles.

 For more information visit the Akoma Cooperative Multipurpose Society website.

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