[TAGDev Story] Combating Climate Change with Earthy Shea Butter Production


Shea butter, a creamy, semisolid fat derived from the seeds of African shea trees, contains a variety of vitamins (including vitamins E and A) and skin-healing compounds. Shea butter is a moisturizer for the skin as well as an oil in foods like chocolate. Its significance inspired Achieng Sarah to begin commercially producing Shea Butter. Northern Uganda has a geographical advantage when it comes to growing shea butter trees (Vitellaria paradoxa), an important oil-producing tree species found in the drier areas of Northern and North-Eastern Uganda. Because of its cultural significance and conservation status, increasing economic value will hasten the conservation and regeneration of Shea landscapes. This will increase carbon sequestration, assisting in combating climate change.

Women in Africa face several obstacles in their pursuit of higher education, including poor family background, early marriage, and gender-based violence. Following a two-decade Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) war that has left many families homeless and besieged, Northern Uganda offers an opportunity to rebuild its human development and infrastructure by skilling its youth and providing a better life for its farming communities.

Achieng’s story is one of perseverance, having been raised by a single parent – her mother. Achieng volunteered at the community youth club to help make ends meet after being forced to drop out of school to support her family. When a good Samaritan in the community offered to help her finish her undergraduate degree, her faith allowed her to return to school. Achieng was still unemployed despite having completed her undergraduate studies in development studies. Her desire to better herself and her family led her to apply for a RUFORUM scholarship through the Mastercard-TAGDev program.

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