Alaffia was founded in 2003 by Olowo-n’djo as a way to help alleviate poverty in Togo, West Africa through the use of Fair Trade Shea butter. He helped to establish a woman-owned cooperative in Togo to make Shea butter. The Shea butter is made from wild harvested Shea nuts using traditional methods. Shea butter, as well as Shea nuts, have a long history of use in Togo and are commonly used in cooking rather than skin care. The Shea nuts are collected primarily by women and sold to the cooperative for Fair Trade prices. This system empowers women by giving them the freedom to negotiate fair prices for the Shea nuts and it provides a steady source of income for their families.
The majority of the company’s income goes toward community improvement projects in Togo. In 2005, they began the Bicycles for Education project. With this project they collect donated bicycles and send them to communities to help children get to school. More than 3,000 bicycles have been sent. They are active in building new schools as well as renovating existing schools. Also, they help to provide uniforms and school supplies for children thus reducing the financial burden placed on families. Maternal health is a large focus for Alaffia and they are active in helping to build clinics and provide prenatal and childbirth care for women. Finally they conduct reforestation projects in the communities with more than 1,000 trees planted per year since 2006.
For more information on the work that Alaffia is doing in Togo visit their webpage at www.alaffia.com.