Achenyo Idachaba

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Achenyo Idachaba
Born c.1968
United States of America
Occupation entrepreneur
Known for exploiting weeds for profit

Achenyo Idachaba (c. 1970–) is an American-born entrepreneur working in Nigeria. She won the Cartier Initiative Award for women in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014. Her TED talk has had over a 1.6 million views.

Life

A pond covered with water hyacinth

Idachaba came to notice after she moved to Ibadan, Nigeria, in 2009 to set up an environmental consultancy.[1] Idachaba had an affinity with Nigeria as her parents had been born there and she had spent some time visiting when she was younger although she was born (in about 1969) and educated in America.[2]

She realised that Water Hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes) which was recognised as an invasive weed could be harvested as she had read of this happening in Asia. In collaboration with local craftspeople she set up a range of products that were woven from the dried plants. The company was called Mitimeth. She developed products such as a waste basket and a table tidy[3] which were made from plants that are usually only known for being invasive. These plants were originally from South America and can be seen as attractive in a domestic garden, however they have been called the "worst aquatic plant" as they grow so abundantly that they create large floating mats of plants that quickly reproduce.[4] By 2013 she had won a grant from the government and she was employing seven staff. The weeds are harvested, dried and then made into rope which can then be made into products.[5]

In 2014 her efforts were recognised when she was given the Cartier award. This was the women's initiative award for sub-Saharan Africa — which had also been won the year before by another Nigerian, Bilikiss Adebiyi Abiola.[6] She has been featured on CNN[5] and her TED talk in 2015 achieved over a million hits.[7]

References

  1. ^ Achenyo Idachaba, Cartier Women's Initiative, Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  2. ^ "Achenyo Idachaba - Turning Water Weeds to Creative Wonders", CP_Africa.com, Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  3. ^ 2014 Finalists, ElleDecoration. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Non-native Invasive Freshwater Plants", WA.gov. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Woven wonders from water weeds and waste", Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Carla Wanyika and Florence Obondo, 2 January 2015. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  6. ^ Bilikiss Adebiyi, 2013, cartierwomensinitiative.com. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  7. ^ "How I turned a deadly plant into a thriving business", Achenyo Idachaba, TED, May 2015.
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