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Bringing Beekeeping to Shea Communities

by Burt’s Bees | 3 min read

SheKeeper Brings Beekeeping to Shea Communities

Burt’s Bees is launching SheKeeper, a $2 million, three-year partnership with our shea and beeswax suppliers, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Partnership for Natural Ingredients. Shekeeper will introduce beekeeping and expand shea processing capabilities in shea-producing communities in the Northern Region of Ghana. This collaboration helps advance Burt’s Bees and USAID’s shared women’s economic empowerment and gender equality priorities.

The SheKeeper program will be made up of 1200 smallholders (small-scale farmers), at least half of whom are women. The program will help to diversify income sources, crops and biodiversity and increase exports from West Africa.

Women participants will select a beekeeping partner and work as a team managing the hives to collect and sell the honey and wax. Beekeeping around the world is managed predominantly by men, and SheKeeper puts women at the center of beekeeping. SheKeeper has the potential to scale and improve the livelihoods of the more than 16 million women collectors and processors across 21 African countries that make up the shea industry.

“SheKeeper creates opportunities for greater economic empowerment of women and youth and increased biodiversity for future generations.”

– Shannon Hess, Burt’s Bees Director of Responsible Sourcing

 The SheKeeper program builds on our longstanding efforts to support shea-producing women’s groups and their communities in Ghana and Burkina Faso, where we’ve been involved in several projects to date:

1 warehouse constructed

for shea kernel and Shea Butter aggregation


1 processing center constructed

for shea kernel roasting and Shea Butter production


6,700+ women trained

to build fuel-efficient cook stoves that help improve safety conditions for shea production and their families and increase efficiency of daily cooking

8,500+

women trained on quality shea kernel processing


4,700+

women received cooperative development training


200+

cooperatives registered

The SheKeeper program supports our 2025 ambition to impact the livelihoods of 50,000 people across our supply chain to help foster resilient communities. As a founding member of the Global Shea Alliance and its sustainability program, Burt’s Bees has partnered with women’s groups and shea communities in West Africa for more than a decade.

 We use more than 1000 ingredients from over 100 countries. We invest in traceable, transparent and resilient supply chains to support the livelihoods of people in the communities who tend, harvest and process the best skin care ingredients from nature.

About Shea & Shea Butter

For thousands of years, Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii) has been extracted from the fruit of the African karite tree. It’s an antioxidant-rich powerhouse with vitamins A, E, and F, as well as minerals and essential fatty acids that help soothe, balance and moisturize the skin while fighting free radical damage.

Get the skin-smoothing goodness of Shea Butter in these top picks.

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Your response to skin care products may vary. Ask a healthcare professional about the most suitable skin care regimen for you.

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