ONE NIGERIAN WOMAN IS TURNING STUBBORN SEAWEEDS, AGRO-WASTES AND OTHER NON-TIMBER RESOURCES PREVALENT IN NIGERIA INTO SUSTAINABLE AND RENEWABLE ECO-FRIENDLY AFROCENTRIC HANDICRAFTS.
Achenyo Idachaba a trained computer scientist quit her job in the US to return to her home town in Nigeria. On her return to her home town, she faced the reality of change obvious in the poor livelihood of many around the country and this drove her into wanting to make a change. Riding on third mainland bridge, Lagos, she observed a collection of canoes held back by a prevalent Nigerian water seaweed, the water hyacinth. The water hyacinth is a lustrous green water weed, fast growing popular sea weed in Nigeria waters with attractive brightly coloured flowers. Though very attractive at sight this plant has been known to negatively affect economic activities in riverine communities, hindering access, preventing marine transportation, diminishing and halting activities, even preventing school kids from going to school.
Confronted by the reality of these beautiful yet damaging seaweeds, she decided to research on ways to turn them around for good for the communities being affected. Her research led her into discovery of the weed being used in making strong, tough, and tenacious ropes which plays a major role in most Nigerian homes, markets and communities.
Beyond that, she decided to upcycle the rope to create beautiful Afrocentric products from bags, to baskets, to lampstands to pens and a whole lot of other products. Starting off on her own on the wings of some local artisans in Ibadan, she now has employees and is teaching community members how to make a livelihood from the plants through, harvesting, drying, and weaving them into ropes, community members are also taught how to upcycle them into awesome products thereby keeping them busy and earning them extra income.
Today Achenyo has an enterprise, Mitimeth trading these amazing handicraft products online and offline across the country.