If you ever needed a practical example of how Africa's women entrepreneurs are finding highly innovative solutions to some of the world's most challenging environmental problems, whilst at the same time building successful sustainable businesses, then Achenyo Idachaba is it. She identified an ecological problem adversely affecting local communities and then set about building a business to fix it!
Finding an innovative eco-solution to Nigeria's problem of its waterways being invaded by highly destructive water hyacinth plants, also created a unique business opportunity for Nigerian entrepreneur, Achenyo Idachaba. Today, her startup company, MitiMeth, takes these nuisance weeds and transforms them into beautiful hand-crafted and highly desirable products. She has taken an environmental problem and turned it into a win-win solution for her business, local communities and the country. Each hand-crafted piece is created from the weeds which are harvested from the local waterways and dried out in the sun before they can be used for weaving into highly intricate and beautiful finished products such as baskets, tableware and even jewellery.
Watch the CNN African Start-Up feature on MitiMeth below.
"We help them to see the invasive weed through a different lens in terms of this could actually become a source of livelihood, ....We go in and train them on how to harvest the material from the waterways, we tell them how they are supposed to dry it and then we teach them how to weave the water hyacinth. We also demonstrate the type of products that they could make."
Achenyo's business is also creating opportunities for numerous local communities along the Niger Delta. She is now educating residents on how to deal with the problem of these invasive water hyacinth plants in an environmentally responsible way, whilst at the same time providing training on how to transform these plants into rope for weaving purposes. Her company MetiMeth is now operating in eight such communities in the country. She is a great example of an African woman eco-preneur growing a successful and sustainable enterprise that also makes a difference to the environment in which she lives.
Visit MitiMeth's website here.