The Transformation of An Invasive Aquatic Weed

Achenyo Idachaba
Achenyo Idachaba

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About

Achenyo: “MitiMeth aims to establish an Artisan Economy by transforming Water Hyacinth, a natural renewable resource, and agro-waste forms into an economic advantage through the empowerment of communities and the production and sales of handcrafted accessories.”

Improving the environment and empowering communities through craft skills training and developing water hyacinth / agro-waste upcycling enterprises.

What problem are you trying to solve? Water hyacinth, an environmental menace, to several riverine communities. According to results of a survey carried out by the National Institute of Freshwater Fisheries (2002), water hyacinth and other noxious invasive aquatic weeds have infested water bodies in at least 20 states across Nigeria. The infestation has led to the clogging of waterways and irrigation canals thereby inhibiting navigation, fishing and commercial activity, causing water loss, siltation of lake/river banks among other problems. Water hyacinth had remained virtually untapped for 3 decades before MitiMeth came on the scene to change the narrative. MitiMeth aims to solve both unemployment and environmental sustainability problems. Youth unemployment is at an all-time high and poverty incidence among youth stands at 80% in Nigeria.

What is your solution to this problem?
MitiMeth is transforming an environmental problem into a beneficial solution by

  • Solving rampant unemployment by creating an Artisan Economy for Handicrafts thereby creating jobs both upstream (in the riparian and agrarian communities) and downstream (main design and production hub in Ibadan)
  • Alleviating the clogging of the waterways through the harvesting of invasive aquatic weeds for handicrafts
  • Producing and selling eco-friendly home and gifts items to satisfy the needs of environmentally conscious consumers within the local and international markets
  • Promoting the use of locally available resources through the transformation and utilization of natural fibres including invasive aquatic weeds and agricultural waste.

Why are you going to win The Spindle Award for Best Innovation?
I believe I am going to win the Spindle Award because MitiMeth has the most innovative and inclusive solution to a problem that has beset Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, for several decades. We are helping people to see water hyacinth and agro-waste through another set of eyes and we are most gratified to see how the income the Artisans earn from weaving is making a difference in their lives and communities and their products telling the story of adversity turned into prosperity.

Team

AIdachaba-MitiMeth
Achenyo Idachaba

Tejumade Adesoye

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