L’OCCITANE strengthens its support programme in Burkina Faso to help fight COVID-19
As part of its deep commitment to its partners and suppliers of natural raw ingredients, the L’OCCITANE Group is boosting its support for women shea butter producers in Burkina Faso.
Every year for over 30 years, L’OCCITANE has sourced hundreds of tons of organic, fair-trade (Fair for Life) shea butter from five cooperatives in Burkina Faso, which bring together over 10,000 women. In 2018, the Group launched the Resilience, Ecology, Strengthening, Independence, Structure, Training (RESIST) programme – a $2 million project with financial contributions from L’OCCITANE, a number of public partners, as well as the cooperatives themselves – to further strengthen its commitment to these communities.
During the current pandemic, L’OCCITANE is providing these women with the tools they need to tackle the health crisis. The Group has also received an additional €50,000 from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, one of L’OCCITANE’s financial partners, to help protect these workers from COVID-19.
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Burkina Faso put in place strict measures, which disrupted the end of the shea nut harvest. To protect the health of its partners, the Group has stopped all activities that involve groups of people coming together. It has also pushed some of its delivery dates back to the autumn while making 80% advance payments for these orders to maintain producers’ cash flow.
The additional €50,000 is intended to help Burkinabe women producers fight COVID-19 on the ground. It was made available as part of the develoPPP.de programme, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The develoPPP.de programme is run by the SEQUA organisation, which has also helped implement the RESIST programme since March 2018. The support for women shea butter producers is made up of three core activities, which are carried out by L’OCCITANE employees and its local partner, the NGO NITIDAE:
- Raising awareness of shielding measures: Poster campaign, informative adverts on local radio, voice messages sent to the phones of shea nut harvesters and producers.
- Distributing protective equipment and supplies
- Providing soap and masks (manufactured in line with Burkinabe government guidelines) for 8,500 women as well as for their local health centres.
- Installing wash basins in shea production centres and in community health centres.
- Stockpiling masks and providing managers of shea butter production centres with training on hygiene measures so that work can resume smoothly in September 2020
- Reducing the economic impact of the pandemic: To strengthen the economic resilience of the local population while their work is suspended, this protective equipment and supplies are being made locally – without affecting supplies for healthcare workers across the country. This also provides new sources of revenue: the soap is made by the women’s cooperatives, while the washbasins and masks are produced by local craftspeople.