We believe that small amounts of targeted money can make a huge difference in the lives of people in rural West Africa. The African Fair Trade Society uses the profits of our Shea Butter sales to invest back into the education and health care of rural villages. Also by providing employment for communities we are giving people a means to provide for their families and not become reliant on government or foreign assistance.

Malaria takes an African child’s life every 30 seconds. That’s Almost 3,000 per day. The following is a quote from book “The End of Poverty” by Jeffrey Sachs. “Malaria is utterly treatable, yet, incredibly, it still claims up to three million lives per year, mostly young children, about 90 percent of whom live in Africa … Low-cost treatments exist, but they do not reach the poor. These statistics boggled my mind, as does the current estimate that malaria causes up to five billion clinical cases per year. Virtually everybody in tropical Africa contracts the illness at least once a year.”

Efficiently getting aid to people is complex and extremely challenging. At the AFTS we are trying to build a system that targets poor people on a small scale and delivers aid to those who are most at risk of disease, malnutrition or not attending school. Our board members in Senegal have the arduous task of determining the recipients of aid. The process can be broken down into the following steps:


  • 1. Survey the community and target families/individuals:
    Our board members are responsible for assessing the village of Dakateli and targeting families most at risk of being unable to send their children to school. Their findings are then presented to the board for examination. All members of the board are able to bring cases related to education and health to the board for examination.
  • 2. Review historical data:
    Who has received aid in the past? What was the aid? Was there any abuse of the aid? Did the children attend school once the family received aid? Basically during this step we want to ensure that our aid has been beneficial and that no abuse or violation has been recorded.
  • 3. Assess needs of the village:
    Review the most pressing issues that the community is struggling with and determine the priorities of the community. We want to ensure that as a small organization we can react quickly to the challenges facing rural communities in Western Africa. As a micro-aid donor we need to be dynamic and agile without being burdened by extensive overhead and administration due to tackling too many issues and losing focus. Furthermore, we do not want to be redundant. If other organizations can be more effective in providing certain forms of aid then we would rather tackle areas that are being overlooked but still significant to the health and well-being of these communities.
  • 4.Build consensus for each case and determine priority:
    The most pressing issues are brought to the board for analysis. Each case is examined in full detail with every member of the board taking part in discussing the validity and priority of the claims.
  • 5.Vote:
    Once the facts of the case(s) have been presented and analyzed, historical data has been reviewed, and the needs of the community have been taken into consideration, the board votes. Distribution of aid is granted only if a majority of the board vote in favour of the case. All financial disbursements greater than $100 dollars need to be voted on by the Board of Directors.
Read about our process for determining recipients of aid.