Help Teach the Shea Butter Women of North Ghana

Hi, my name is Melesande (Mala) Rhodes and I am raising money to help teach a group of women in Ghana how to expand their shea butter processing to include additional hair and body products to help provide a better life for them and their families.

Shea butter is a $3.5 billion USD industry, yet the women of the shea butter cooperatives in Northern Ghana are only being paid $40 per month (at best) for it. It’s hard to imagine taking care of an entire family, sending children to school, and providing food and shelter on $40 a month. And yet this is what faces an estimated three million rural women in Northern Ghana. These women work tirelessly to make shea, though they remain relatively unknown, unheard and with a very small share of the returns on their labor.

The process of shea butter production is very long and difficult. Ghanian women are using traditional methods and almost the whole shea butter production process is made solely with their hands.

Here's a quick video that shows part of what its like to make shea butter once the shea nuts are gathered from the forests.  It is an arduous process, with over 22 steps. No big industrial machines. No manufacturing facilities. 

The women in Northern Ghana have processed shea butter this way for generations.  My mission with this project is simple, which is to show these women how to make ADDITIONAL products with the shea butter they already produce.

I'm scheduled to teach this Level 1 Hair Product Formulation workshop in Accra on August 3-5, 2019 and want to sponsor 25 women from shea butter cooperatives to attend the workshop.  But I can't do it alone.

Why sponsor these women?  You've heard the saying "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime?"  I'm doing my best to teach our sisters how to "fish".  I want them to be able to sustain for a lifetime because they deserve to be empowered.  They deserve to be in a position to provide more for their families and communities.  They deserve the opportunity.

We care about the product they make (shea butter). Let’s also care about the women who make it.

It's not enough to just acknowledge what these women do, which in and of itself is nothing short of amazing.  I mean, think about it... they produce shea butter for the world's cosmetic industry! Let that sink in for a moment. That's huge.  I believe we can do so much to contribute to their well-being. 

As a cosmetic chemist and product formulator with more than 20 years of experience, I know that the hands-on training they will receive from me and my team will go a long way in strengthening their skills and capacity to produce better products and make more money, just by adding moisturizing creams, bar soap, lotions, body scrubs, and more to the lineup.


This is a humanitarian effort.  PLEASE help me sponsor 25 women to attend this workshop.

Please consider making the decision to make a difference today by supporting this mission.  This is my first GoFundMe campaign and I've never asked for this amount of money before.   The entire process will be fully documented to include discussions with the women that attend to share their stories as shea butter producers,  as well as their attendance and progress in the course itself.  The funds collected will be used to supply each student with the formulation kit that comes with the training.  The kit contains:

*  Enough physical, raw materials and ingredients that are native to Ghana (oils, herbs, etc) to create 8 different professionally formulated hair and skin care products that they can duplicate and sell at market
*  Containers and packaging for each product for a more professional look
*  Printed training and reference materials
*  Cups, bowls, measuring utensils, mixers, etc.

Please share this message and help get the word out, as well as show your support for the women who make the incredible shea butter that we all use and love by sponsoring this training workshop.

Thank you for being part of the solution, and for helping me help others.


  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 3 mos
  • Kimberly Kelly 
    • $75 
    • 4 mos
  • John Cachay 
    • $50 
    • 4 mos


Melesande Rhodes 
Los Angeles, CA
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