We needed to find a sustainable and quality source of Shea butter plus other ingredients for our product range, and in April 2016 our search led us to the middle-belt and northern parts of Nigeria; an area known for the quality and abundance of its natural resources.
We were welcomed and embraced by the King of Essan and the women of Essan, who demonstrated immense pride in their work and their unified way of living. These inspiring women produce tons of Shea butter annually by hand, and told us that what they truly wanted was for people to recognise the value of their hard work.
We saw firsthand how the women of Essan make quality ingredients with real dedication and genuine pride. Producing Shea butter is part of their heritage - a legacy passed down from generation to generation - and witnessing it was truly the ‘making of us’.
Naturally Tribal’s belief in ‘Trade not aid’
Despite receiving billions in aid for several decades, Africa has not achieved the levels of economic self-determination needed to enable it to deal with its own poverty, disease and chronic dependency. We believe that the aid development model being used in Africa isn't working. African nations are rich with natural resources and development potential - what they need is trade.
There is a well-known proverb that we truly believe in - “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” We collaborate with the women of Essan by sourcing our ingredients from their community in an ethical and sustainable manner, providing the infrastructure needed to ensure quality, and the training that will help them progress.
When we talk about ‘no take without give’, ‘win-win’ and ‘friendly trading’ – trade not aid is precisely what we mean. So that our customers can see the positive impact of their purchase, we provide regular Essan updates.