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Ripples works directly with women in their communities to figure out what will cause the greatest long-term impact. Ripples works with women leaders in their communities to co-design programs that will create long-lasting, sustainable improvements. Through our continuous presence, we establish strong relationships with village women and leaders, regularly conducting audits and town hall meetings to monitor community health and discuss village needs. Your contribution to our Women’s Enterprise program can help a woman take control of her livelihood through dignified work.

Stakeholder Farming - Nigeria

How We Work

Adopt A Village

Problem

Women form the backbone of the Nigerian agricultural sector, providing 60-80% of all labor. However, due to gender inequality, they also have less access to resources and limited decision-making powers, resulting in a gap in harvest value, despite the fact that they carry the bulk of household and child-raising responsibilities.1   Additionally, Nigeria faces recurring droughts and looming environmental crises, as well as a rapidly growing population- as of 2018, the average woman gives birth to 5 children in her lifetime.2  During Town Hall meetings with Ripples women in Ogidi and Oke-osun, both remote Nigerian villages expressed that it was increasingly difficult to fight hunger in their communities and feed their families. Further, village youth who struggle to find employment must migrate to cities in search of work, leaving them, their families, and their communities to fend for themselves.

Sustainable Agriculture

Solution

Ripples had a town hall meeting with local women and the Council of Chiefs to co-create a small, female-led stakeholder farmers group. Thus, a sustainable farming initiative designed to teach women and youth sustainable, profitable, and eco-friendly farming techniques was created. Not only does Ripples’ sustainable farming program help generate income and feed families, but it also empowers women and youth to lead in the adaptation of their community’s agriculture while increasing the resilience of farms to environmental crises and climate change. Farmers are also taught how to run their farms like businesses, and how to make long-term investments, such as planting investment trees like Ebony, to guarantee income when school fees are due. Participants also learn invaluable skills, like farm irrigation, to allow their communities to weather droughts and increase harvests from one to four times a year.

Stakeholder Farming - Woman With Peppers

Impact

The sustainable farming program began in Nigeria in 2018 with a pilot of 70 female participants: each woman was provided with 2 cleared hectares of land, seeds, and training.  Women were able to provide food for their families, earning income from the sale of their harvests.  Additionally, proceeds from women’s harvest sales were  used to buy irrigation pumps and high-yield seeds, guaranteeing investment and sustainability for the future of farms. In addition to having regular income, improving farm resilience to environmental threats, and feeding families, sustainable farming with Ripples Foundation presents women with the ability to provide medical care and education for their children with the income they make after the sales of farm harvests. With the profits Ripples women gain from sustainable farming, they are able to earn the incomes necessary to ensure the prosperity and security of their children and communities. 

Shea Butter Production- Ghana

How We Work

Ghana Village

Problem

72% of self-employed Ghanaian women in agriculture are within the low-income classification, as opposed to 48% of their male counterparts. In particular, rural women face immense challenges in transforming their labor into more profitable self-employment activities and paid work into more secure and higher incomes. Further, only 29% of rural women are literate, though education plays a fundamental role in accessing better labor opportunities. The young rural population also faces great difficulty in joining the labor market: though youth have an employment rate of 94% and comprise 19% of Ghana’s working population, their primary employment is as unpaid agricultural family workers.3  The economic challenges stemming from difficulties joining the labor market are reflected in health and mortality statistics of the country’s youth: there are 46 deaths per every 1,000 live births for children under-five.4

Learning How To Filter Shea Butter

Solution

Ripples Foundation has developed a Women’s Enterprise for Ripples Ghana OR, where women find dignified work by overcoming barriers in education, financing, and customs. In conjunction with Ripples Foundation, local women in Ghana are trained to start sustainable businesses using natural resources to create products that can be sold in the international market. Ripples has also partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to fund the Fair Trade and Organic audit, which leads to the certification of high-quality Shea Butter for consumers to purchase around the globe. Through the partnership, Ripples women in Ghana have connected remote African economies to the international market, injecting foreign dollars into their village economies and communities.

Impact

Ripples Ghana OR was established in 2011 to train Ripples women in Ghana on the grading and classification of Shea Butter, establishing effective methods for them to provide and produce the best quality Shea Butter for both the international and domestic markets. The program initially started with 1,200 women in 2011, and by the end of 2019, was collaborating with over 5,500 women. Every dollar earned by a Ripples Women’s Enterprise-trained woman goes to protecting and uplifting Ghanaian communities, in addition to the futures of their children. Women are able to access health care, provide nutritious food for their families, and send their children to school with the profits generated from the Shea Butter businesses, which successfully grant them access to the domestic and international labor markets.

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Pottery Making - Madagascar

How We Work

Problem

Despite having an abundance of natural resources, Madagascar has one of the highest poverty rates in the world- around 75% of the population was living below the international poverty line of $1.90 in 2019.5 Years of political instability and economic stagnation have made it challenging for women and youth to break free from the cycle of poverty in Madagascar. Further, Madagascar has the world’s fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition- over half of children are chronically malnourished, and more than one fourth are severely malnourished. Children in rural areas are especially vulnerable to chronic malnutrition.5 6 In order to confront the challenging conditions present in Madagascar, rural women sought a partnership with Ripples Foundation to search for sustainable and profitable solutions for local economies.

Madagascar Pottery Wheel

Solution

Ripples Madagascar Women’s Enterprise teaches women the techniques of pottery making, spice production, and sustainable farming, enabling them to effectively address the economic, societal, and educational barriers facing them. The collaboration between local women and Ripples Foundation utilizes the natural resources of Madagascar as raw materials, and it also helps supply women with the equipment necessary for business production processes, such as pottery wheels. Ripples women in Madagascar are also equipped with international business skills: products of Ripples women are designated with Fair Trade Certification, which gives rural economies access to opportunities of the free market, in addition to enhancing the movement for global peace and prosperity.

Madagascar Pottery

Impact

Ripples Foundation is determined to give a hand-up to women and youth in Madagascar: since 2017, Ripples has been able to help over 1,500 women in Madagascar. Ripples Foundation has successfully established three different projects in Madagascar: Pottery Project, Spices Production Project, and Stakeholder Farming. In being equipped with the necessary materials and training, Ripples Women’s Enterprise-trained women are able to fight against the cycle of poverty, providing the income necessary to support the health and well-being of their families and communities. The projects instituted through collaboration between Ripples Foundation and women in Madagascar have succeeded in providing communities with food and jobs for generations.

Sewing Project- Nigeria

How We Work

Adopt A Village

Problem

In conversations with Ripples staff when piloting the Ripples Farm initiative, village women expressed their concerns over the struggles of providing enough food for their families and feeding their communities without viable and consistent income. More than 82 million Nigerians live on less than $1 per day, and over 40% of Nigerians live below the poverty line.8  To further demonstrate matters of gender inequality in Nigeria, twice as many women as men are currently living below the poverty line.9 Legal, cultural, and political ceilings have severely limited Nigerian women’s potential in the labor market, with very few opportunities for women to lift themselves out of the poverty cycle. Thus, the economic needs of women in remote Nigerian communities are palpable, and must be addressed in order to protect the futures of children and communities.

Solution

The Ripples Women’s Enterprise in Nigeria works with local women to develop a sustainable sewing and fashion design business. Women are provided with the sewing materials necessary to produce a variety of unique and marketable items, such as skirts and dresses, with locally-sourced fabrics. Ripples also teaches women how to sew, package, and source materials through a series of courses taught by Ripples staff. The products created by Ripples women are then introduced for sale in international markets using Fair Trade Certification, which guarantees that consumers have access to high-quality products around the globe and remote economies have access to the opportunities of the free market. Global consumers can experience the craftsmanship of the African village woman, and Ripples women can promote the futures of themselves, their families, and local communities.

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Impact

One branch of the Ripples Foundation Women’s Enterprise is in Nigeria, introduced in 2011. Approximately 200 women have worked in conjunction with Ripples staff to establish a sewing and fashion design business that is both profitable and sustainable. By learning basic sewing skills, women in remote villages have enhanced their entrepreneurial skills, and have gained the necessary components to fight gender inequality and systemic poverty. Additionally, participants working with the Women’s Enterprise businesses have unlocked the financial security necessary to feed and provide education and healthcare for their children, as well as to invest in and revitalize local economies- ensuring their communities are supported against future challenges.

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CASE STUDY

Changing African Lives

Ripples is built on the idea of giving a hand up to African women, meaning that we work to give women the opportunities necessary to build thriving careers and return investment in their communities. Ripples does this through analyzing the distinct needs and features of each community- we want to listen to the needs of the women while also utilizing the natural resources found in the areas around them. Thus, we have built programs for sewing, pottery making, spices production, and sustainable farming in the various countries we work in. By reading through the testimonials of Ripples women, you will be able to know more about the direct impact we have had in their communities.

Zabaga Sulemana from Dulzugu shea butter processing center
Zabaga Sulemana from Dulzugu shea butter processing center

NAME: Zabaga Sumaini
VILLAGE: Dulzugu
NO OF CHILDREN:
ENROLLMENT DATE/MONTH/YEAR: 2019
BENEFIT FROM RIPPLES: this is my first time participating in a shea butter production training. The training would help many of us who always produce poor quality shea butter. The trainer made us see how a kneading machine can take over the stress of sitting for hours to knead shea butter.
CHANGES TO LIFE: We wish Ripples foundation can get us a kneading machine at our processing center, I believe with the kneading machine, I can increase my production from 2 bags a week to 10 bags a week . I am so impressed with what I have learnt from Ripples.

Samata Alhassan, Salamba from Shea butter processing center
Samata Alhassan, Salamba from Shea butter processing center

NAME: Samata Alhassan
VILLAGE: Salamba
NO OF CHILDREN:
ENROLLMENT DATE/MONTH/YEAR: 2019
BENEFIT FROM RIPPLES: I have learned many new things from Ripples training – This is the first time I have seen a kneading machine. They demonstrated to us how to wash the shea kernels, check the presence of moisture in the butter during the second boiling. The filtering was interesting to learn about because I have never done it that way. I have never taught shea butter can be produced under charcoal fire.
CHANGES TO LIFE:  My name is Samata Alhassan from the Salamba shea butter processing center, I joined the Ripples program in 2019. I have learnt many new things today. This is the first time I have seen a kneading machine. They demonstrated to us how to wash the shea kernels, check the presence of moisture in the butter during the second boiling. The filtering was interesting to learn about because I have never done it that way. I have never taught shea butter can be produced under charcoal fire. The sorting was well illustrated to us. I believe when I go home, I can explain and demonstrate how to process quality shea butter to my group members.

Fuseina Yakubu From Gumo Shea butter processing center
Fuseina Yakubu From Gumo Shea butter processing center

NAME: Fuseina Yakubu
VILLAGE: Gumo
NO OF CHILDREN: 7 children, 5 children in school.
ENROLLMENT DATE/MONTH/YEAR: 2018
BENEFIT FROM RIPPLES: I joined the Ripples program in 2018, I have participated in some of Ripples training. I like Ripples training because it is practical, you can easily practice on your own after the training.
CHANGES TO LIFE:  I started to produce shea butter for the past 8 years. The business is very helpful to me and my household, I support my children’s education, provide food for the house and still able to make savings.  With Ripples, I have learnt how to roasts crushed nuts using charcoal and how to boil shea butter using charcoal. I saw the difference when you wash the kernels three times compared to my usual way of washing only once. I was shocked to see that sorting the nuts really makes a big difference on the quality and quantity of the shea butter even after boiling, a very small amount of the waste remains in the pot. The butter looks very neat and the production procedures look simply.

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COVID-19s Impact on Ripples Foundation