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   In 1994, as living conditions worsened for many Burkinabe under the impact of structural adjustment and devaluation, the government announced "six commitments" to help the poor and ensure environmental sustainability. One of the commitments specifically highlighted the potential for promoting women's economic empowerment through development of the Shea sector.

   In response to government appeals for assistance, a number of external non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and bilateral donors began to support various projects. One of the first initiatives was the Project National Karite (PNK, National Shea Project), launched in 1995 with financial and technical assistance from the Centre canadien d'étude et de coopération internationale (CECI), a Canadian NGO. Then Taiwan came in with major funding, about CFA1 bn ($1.4 mn) up to the end of 1999.

   
         
   

   UNIFEM's West Africa regional office, headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, sent a mission to Burkina at the government's request. It found that despite the PNK and other Shea projects, women still did not have secure access to means of production. So in 1997, UNIFEM became directly involved, specifically to help women's groups bolster their ability to produce Shea butter and to link them with potential export markets.

   Because of the proliferation of Shea projects, the government decided in the following year to establish a coordinating committee to ensure that the different donor institutions did not operate at cross-purposes or duplicate efforts. The committee enjoys a high political profile, functioning directly under the authority of Ms. Gis èle Guigma, the minister of women's advancement.

 
      
   
         
   
Genuine HoBo Bodi-Sense International, LLC gives 10 percent of our sales on each Genuine HoBo® Shea Butter jar through the United Nations to the women of Africa. Our donations go towards the building of health centers and child care centers.

   
         

 

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