Environmental Problem Turned Into a Beneficial Solution By Achenyo Idachaba
Achenyo Idachaba is the founder of MitiMeth who turned an environmental problem into a beneficial solution. Born in the US to Nigerian parents spent her formative years between Nigeria and America. Many see water weed as a nuisance but Achenyo Idachaba identified it as a business opportunity. She turned these watery weeds into a tangible, bespoke craft thus transforming an environmental problem into a beneficial solution.
Environmental Problem Turned Into a Beneficial Solution
Achenyo did some research and found out that some communities in southeast Asia who are afflicted by the water hyacinth had harvested the weed and transformed it through weaving into marketable products. So she thought to her self, this can also be done in Nigeria.
In 2009, after all her findings she decided to take what she calls a ‘leap of faith,’ by moving to Ibadan to set up an environmental consulting business named “MitiMeth” in 2011. There she met with a couple of artisans who had experience in weaving doum palm and rattan. She worked with them to develop her company’s first products is a table tidy and a wastebasket, which she made with her Ibadan team.
Making each craft depends on the climate and having enough hands to work. The weeds are harvested from a local water channels and laid out in the sun to dry out, which can take anywhere from four days to two weeks in the rainy season. Once dry, they are then processed into the rope required to weave products together.
MitiMeth produces home and personal accessories made from water hyacinths (an aquatic weed) causing problems in local communities and ruining water supplies.
Aquatic weeds such as the water hyacinth, which MitiMeth uses, pose a major challenge to local communities and have been a target of government initiatives to stem the damage they cause for some years. Their extensive, knotted root systems tangle together and clog waterways, which are a key transportation network to inland populations. They also deplete nutritional resources in their surroundings, leading to a drop in the fish population, which impacts food supplies and livelihoods for riparian communities, who are reliant on fishing.
All her products are locally handmade and eco-friendly, this gives MitiMeth an egde in building an indigenous, eco-friendly brand.