ALAFFIA DIRECTLY HELPS WEST AFRICAN COMMUNITIES BECOME SELF-SUSTAINABLE BY FAIRLY TRADING INDIGENOUS RESOURCES.
Founder Olowo-n’djo Tchala was inspired to start Alaffia by his mother, who represents the story and the struggle of most women in West Africa. As an orphaned child, she was sent from Togo to neighbouring Benin, where she lived with a family as their indentured servant in exchange for food and a place to sleep. As a young woman, she returned to Togo, married and gave birth to eight children. While she never set foot in a school or had access to education, she thrived as a mother and entrepreneur, cultivating her own vegetable farm to feed her family and earn an income. Having experienced the challenges of providing for a family alongside his mother, Olowo-n’djo says,
“I understand what poverty is and how it is for a poor mother to raise a family in those situations. So, you see, I can’t know what I know is happening in Togo and not do anything.”
Whilst individual woman are empowered through their participation in Alaffia’s cooperatives, Olowo-n’djo strongly believes in empowering whole communities. Alaffia’s revenue directly funds community projects in central Togo to alleviate poverty and advance gender equality by tackling barriers such as exclusion from education, maternal deaths and environmental degradation.
In 1996, Olowo-n’djo met his now-wife Rose, who was visiting Kaboli as a Peace Corps volunteer to educate farmers on sustainable farming. Two years later he joined Rose in the United States, learnt English and, in 2004, earned a Bachelor of Science in Organisational Studies with emphasis on Global Economic Systems. His studies reinforced his suspicion that for Africa to rise out of poverty her people had to lead themselves, rather than rely on the World Bank or other instructions. In 2003 Olowo-n’djo decided the urgency of reducing poverty could not wait any longer, so he and Rose founded Alaffia.
The Alaffia range has expanded significantly during the last 12 years and now includes top-selling Everyday Shea, Everyday Coconut and African Black Soap.
Discover the new Alaffia products online now.