In 1996, a young man from Togo, West Africa, Olowo-n’djo Tchala met a young woman, Prairie Rose Hyde, from rural Washington State. Inspired by a shared calling to do right by the world, Alaffia, a social enterprise, was born.
Alaffia empowers individuals and communities in Africa through the fair trade of indigenous, sustainable resources. They pay fair prices and wages, provide equal employment opportunities, engage in environmentally sustainable practices, provide healthy and safe working conditions, are open to public accountability, and reduce the number of middlemen between producers and consumers. (They are third party certified Fair Trade by IMO, one of the largest certifying agencies.) They give back ten percent of sales to community empowerment projects, like Bicycles for Education (providing used bikes to disadvantaged students in Togo so they can get to and from school), Maternal Health (providing pre- and post-natal care to reduce high maternal death rates), School Supplies & Repairs (donating metal roofs, seats, and school supplies to schools in rural Togo), and Reforestation & Environment (combating effects of climate change and deforestation by planting trees and building home biogas units).
For example, Alaffia Shea Butter contains oil from the nuts of wild Shea trees scattered throughout the wooded savanna of West and Central Africa. Alaffia pays a fair wage, about four times the market wage, to the women who gather shea nuts and hand craft the product, and provide medical care, employment security, and paid vacation. They pay a premium price, about three times market price, for the product. The handcrafted shea butter is unrefined to maintain its healing and moisturizing properties and to avoid inclusion of solvent residues. It helps with everything from diaper rash to wrinkles.
Read more about Alaffia’s products, the uses of shea butter, and their programs on their website, http://www.alaffia.com/. Watch a video of founder Olowo-n’djo Tchala at our store, below.