The Beautiful Faces of the Al Amal Co-op
Handcrafted argan oil by the Al Amal women’s co-operative
The Al Amal co-operative knows where every seed comes from. Each step of production is tracked from harvesting and drying of the fruit to hand crushing and pressing of the nut.
Our Argan oil, which offers exceptional regenerative action, is exclusively produced by this small, self-governed Berber Women’s Co-Operative of Morocco. Indigenous Berber women produce traditional Argan oil from the seeds of this wild-growing thorny evergreen – a tree that can be traced back twenty million years.
Unfortunately the majority of Argan oil sold in the skin-care industry today is mass-produced by private companies often claiming association with women’s cooperatives without evidence. According to BEFAIR, the Belgian Development Agency, less than 10% of the Argan oil exported from Morocco today is made by women’s co-operatives.
Known as ‘ghost co-operatives’, these fake co-ops are controlled by local business people whose employees are paid far below fair labor rates. The Argan oil from these ‘ghost co-ops’ is likely produced from open, oxidized nuts. Often rancid, the oil would need to be deodorized to disguise the unpleasant smell.
The beautiful oil is featured in our Argan Intensive Serum, Rose Vetiver Day Moisturizer, Blue Chamomile Day Moisturizer, Light Moisture Replenishing Fluid, Whipped Shea Butter for Lips, and Whipped Moroccan Argan Body Butter.
Most legitimate women’s co-operatives are members of the National Association of Argan Co-operatives (ANCA): www.anca-maroc.com/en/liste-des-cooperatives.
Woman's Gold Kpersi Village, Northern Ghana
Kpersi Village, Northern Ghana In 2014 Evan visited northern Ghana with key members of the evanhealy team. There, in a small village, she met the women of a shea butter collective, and over three days watched and participated in the incredibly labor-intensive process that goes into transforming raw,
unadulterated shea nuts into the rich, creamy yellow butter that plays a central role in so many of our products. For centuries shea butter has been called “women’s gold” not only for its rich golden color, but also because it provides employment and income to millions of women across the continent.
Rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins, and exhibiting impressive cooling and protective qualities, shea butter is remarkably versatile, offering nourishment and exceptional skin-revitalizing activity.
It is part of an age-old tradition and is used daily throughout one’s lifetime – to celebrate birth, to dress wounds, as a butter to cook with and a balm to moisturize skin and hair.
Our purchases of Kpersi Shea Butter have seen over one hundred village women secure a better livelihood for the village, while providing three hundred and fifty school uniforms for the children. At present we’re working to secure Organic and Fair Trade Certification. Additionally, we recently completed the construction of a milling shed and purchase and installation of a grinding mill – the life force of the community.
We rely on Waca Development Partners, a non-governmental organization, to realize all of our projects with the Village. In fact it has
been the founders of Waca who have been our guides these past many years in the world of shea butter. Waca’s mission is to initiate and support development projects with women, families and communities in Ghana’s northern regions. Waca is the creation of Wayne Dunn and Gifty Serbeh-Dunn. Gifty was born and raised in Wa, a neighboring town to Kpersi Village. Her father is a well-respected Chief in the community. Wayne is Professor of Practice in Corporate Social Responsibility at McGill University, Montreal, and is recognized globally as a CSR pioneer.
School Uniforms: 350+
Women Engaged: 100+
Fair Trade + Organic Certification Co-Sponsor
Grinding Mill + Shed Sponsorship
The grinding mill is the life force of the community
In August 2015, we made a commitment to fund a modern grinding mill in the Village. At that time the women of the Village had to leave the Village and walk a mile and a half with their harvest to use such a mill.
The grinding mill is central to the daily routine of women and families in Kpersi. When the women of the Village were asked what would have the most impact on the community, they immediately identified a grinding mill as the one thing that
would improve health, education, household economics and village life. Food and crop processing would be more efficient, allowing more production, improving health and nutrition and enabling more children to go to school with proper supplies and equipment.
With Waca organizing, we purchased the grinding mill, constructed the shed to house the mill, trained operators, and set up a financial and management system to fund future repairs and maintenance.
Evan’s journey into the heart of Provence
In the Spring of 2015 Evan traveled to the south of France to meet the head of a forty-plus certified organic farm co-operative. From them, we source a variety of aromatic plants including lavender, thyme and clary sage and use these lovely, single-grower oils in our serums, moisturizers, cleansers, butters and balms.
Though we had been working with this group for some time, it was a treat to meet the people and see the farms first hand. We toured the region’s lush surrounding valleys of the Rhône Provençal.
Travelling along the narrow winding roads that hug the meandering Drôme River, we made our way from Loriol to the honeyscented fields of Vercheny nestled between the cascading Alpine mountains to see how three generations of farmers carry on a proud family tradition.
We were comforted by just how easy it all was. Each relationship was simply ratified with that time-honored gesture of human contact – a handshake. Around here that is how business is still done.