In a bid to deal with the abundance of invasive water hyacinth plants blocking local waterways, Achenyo Idachaba founded MitiMeth, a company that produces home and personal accessories made from invasive aquatic weeds that flourish in Nigeria’s waterways.
A computer and business analyst, Achenyo Idachaba was born in the US to Nigerian parents but she spent her formative years between Nigeria and America. She decided to come back to Nigeria in 2009 and was based in Ibadan where she set up an environmental consulting business.
In 2012, Achenyo founded MitiMeth after she read about an Asian report of communities harvesting the invasive water hyacinth to make beautifully hand craft works of art.
Acquatic weeds such as the water hyacinth, which MitiMeth uses was a major challenge to local communities and government initiatives were trying to curtail the damage it causes to these communities.
The weeds block waterways which are a key transportation network to inland populations. They also reduce nutritional resources in their surroundings, affecting the fish population which in turn affects food supplies and livelihoods for communities who are reliant on fishing.
Armed with the knowledge she has about the weeds, Achenyo decided to befriend some artisans who had experience in weaving from palm and rattan, producing a waste basket and a table.
In 2013, her company was awarded a grant from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
In addition to creating beautiful hand woven materials, Achenyo also decided to empower local communities with skills needed to explore the business opportunities in the weeds.
Branching into other communities mostly in the Niger Delta region with many water ways, MitiMeth alongside her team educated and trained residents on how to turn the plague into a money-yielding business.
With this, Achenyo did not just solve environmental problem but transformed it into beneficial solution, making entrepreneurs out of it.
Watch her Tedtalk and photos below