OYO - The Danish government's Danida Market Development Partnerships (DMDP) disbursed DKK 9 million to its Canadian partner Mennonite Economic Development Association (MEDA) in 2019 for a 4-year project to support Nigerian women shea collectors, but the project was terminated before the predetermined four years. The team looked into the project's effects and the reasons behind its abrupt termination in 2020.

The project's goals include making sure that more money is raised for women shea collectors in Oyo State, increasing their finances by connecting them with buyers, creating diverse jobs for women, and expanding shea-related opportunities. The team was able to obtain 236 pages from the Danish Foreign Ministry after making an FOI request. The project was led under the Kolo Nafaso programme created by AAK (previously AarhusKarlshamn) and is being executed by MEDA of Canada, Global Shea Alliance (GSA), and the National Shea Products Association of Nigeria (NASPAN), according to the Danish Foreign Ministry.

Findings showed that women in Oyo, the programme's target population, had never heard of the AKK project. The main Shea butter association in Oyo was not made aware of or given any benefits from the project, but they occasionally interact with other partners like Coca-Cola. The question remains, however, who did MEDA and its collaborators train in Oyo? Which Oyo-based women shea collectors benefited from the scheme within the short period?

Similar to their colleagues in Oyo, women shea collectors in Kwara State deal with the same problem. The Kwara women shea collectors laboured for hours picking nuts that would only be sold for peanuts, just as the Oyo women shea collectors.

MEDA claimed that 817 women leaders were trained in six weeks in Oyo State, but AKK withdrew from the initiative, citing security issues in Oyo state. However, AAK claims that before their exit, they purchased shea from 550 women, and 6,500 registered collectors were compensated for any lost income.

Team members

Elfredah Kevin-Alerechi

Elfredah Kevin-Alerechi is an investigative journalist from Nigeria.

Elfredah Kevin-Alerechi

Elza Sandrine Sawadogo

Elza Sandrine Sawadogo, Burkina Faso, has worked as a journalist at L’Economiste du Faso.

Elza Sandrine Sawadogo

Nelly Kalu

Nelly Kalu is a Nigerian independent broadcast and investigative journalist, podcaster and media advocate.

Nelly KaluNelly Kalu

Lasse Sørensen

Southeast Asia as a region and is particularly interested in Indonesia.

Lasse Sørensen

David Crouch

David Crouch is a freelance reporter based in Sweden.

David Crouch

need resources for your own investigative story?

Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.


support independent cross-border investigative journalism

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.