What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
The current major problem in Chad is communication. Especially during the rainy season from May to October, many communities are disconnected from others because of impracticable roads. It becomes therefore very difficult to collect the nuts and transport them to one center to be processed. For that reason, we have decided to have processing units in five or more villages. These villages will collect the nuts and process them at local level. That’s also the whole idea behind our training sessions. The production period of shea fruits is between June and July, so all the process will lead us to October and November, a favorable moment because that’s the beginning of the dry season and roads are somehow practicable.
The second big issue is about packaging. Since 2009, the Chadian Government has forbidden any use of plastic bags, which is a hindering situation if we think on how we will wrap our products (butter, soap) to be sold locally. For the beginning we will be using recycled bottled for butter and paper boxes for soaps, but we are managing to work with potential partners in Nigeria for the packaging materials.
For the midwives training, one the issues that could arise is professional assistance. We will need professionals and also materials for the training. We assume that after launching our products we will be able to purchase the basic tools, and we plan to work closely with the Regional Hospital of Doba.
Our advantage is that we are dealing with a known and appreciated product (shea butter) that simply lacks on the local market on one hand, and on the other we are addressing a very persistent issue. Otherwise we would have to deal with the reluctance of local chiefs, husbands, and even women.
Tell us about your partnerships
We have signed a commitment agreement with three local women organization to support them in their activities, mainly in the transformation of non-woody forest products. We provide training and logistic supports in their production process. These women are our base and we support them as we can according to our budget. So far, we haven’t established a contract for the generated income because we estimate it to be insignificant. Our first objective is to strengthen the network, and let these groups of women understand that there could be a good reward in processing shea butter if they put their energy into it and are serious and honest. We are not dealing with products that can be picked and sold away, but we are dealing with a natural resource that can be depleted as quickly as people lose hope on their livelihood situation. If we think on a long term, then we should show the positive impact of the production of shea butter. That’s the reason we are combining it with the most crucial issue at the moment that is maternal mortality.
Some local Institution are ready to give us support in this project according to their mandate for the sustainable development of the region: Africare, World Vision, the Regional Government, etc.
For the export we are in contact with a young Chadian in France who is waiting for the approval of her cosmetic line. She has the Chadian shea butter tested is very satisfied of the results. One of our staff members will attend a cosmetic fair in Munich the next month. It will be an opportunity to discuss about different perspectives for the project.
Explain your selections
Friends and Family: when we launched our association in 2003, we relied on friends and family through subscription and generous support. They know what we do even though they don’t see an immediate success they continue to support us until today with TerreMatic Consulting SARL.
Individuals: these are generous people that trust in what we are doing and believe in the necessity to act for sustainable development of the region. Some individuals offer financial support or logistic like for example making available their cars for our transportation in remote villages.
NGOs: We haven’t received any written agreement yet with some of the major NGOs, but we have promises. However, we have received logistic support from World Vision. CARE International also supports us by offering us small contracts to our enterprise.
Regional Government: Likewise the NGOs, we are negotiating with the regional Government through its Institution that reinvest 5% of the oil revenues for the development of the Region of Doba. They have been mainly on building infrastructure, but we have received the support from the Prime Minister that introduced us to the Institution and insisted to have us as partner since we are the single local institution that acts in the domain of sustainable development with on-field actions.
Customers: TerreMatic Consulting SARL is for-profit organization and we rely on our activities to support some of the projects we implement. Also, this particular project has the goal to produce and sell shea butter and other related products.
How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?
Now that we have realized what shea butter is worth on the International market, we will put our energy and will focus on key strategies to develop the project. First we will match the interest of the local populations to our goals by strengthening our partnership. Through our training programs, we will let them know that the sustainability of this important resource relies on them, and that we will do our best to support them. We absolutely need to build our marketing network and avoid any break in the supply. We will realize video documentaries for the national TV on the matter and other environmental issues in exchange of few advertising (knowing that very few TV shows on natural resources management exist).
People in Chad know about shea butter, and it is commonly used in its crude form as moisturizer for hair and skin. Our marketing will target potential clients (women essentially) and let them know that we’ve heard their complain of not being able to have a regular access to the product. Of course, our intention is to be able to export the crude shea butter not later than the third year, however this project aim is to make Chadian benefit from this resource first. Surely, it will also help us funding our research for international connections. Our international connection, if successful, will impact our production. With our current contact in France we will look at the option of launching our own cosmetic line for the international market with the option of online shopping.