Meet Olufunto Boroffice, a female serial entrepreneur with several businesses in Abuja, Nigeria, who’s ready to make a difference. In May 2015, Olufunto established her latest venture, Chanja Datti Ltd – a waste collection recycling social enterprise dedicated to the collection and transformation of waste in the environment to tackle the waste and pollution problem in Nigeria. (Watch their overview video.)
According to a 2015 UNEP report, “Pollution is the largest cause of death in the world. It has severe implications for sustainable development, exacerbates the poverty cycle, harms the environment and biodiversity, causes lifelong disability and stagnates economic growth.”
Through the waste management value chain, Chanja Datti is empowering unemployed women and youth especially those at the bottom of the pyramid by creating jobs for them through their micro entrepreneurship program. They also make it their duty to promote environmental sustainability and relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) enlightenment campaigns across communities as well as educational and religious institutions, with particular focus on the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Says Olufunto:
“With Chanja Datti, we have been able to hire 20+ women on a part time basis and train over 70 women on ways to generate wealth from waste collection. We are also working with FETS, a Nigerian mobile banking company to provide financial services for our unbanked informal recycling collectors especially the women. We’ve seen that the money that our women collectors and label removers earn has been used to supplement what the family eats and pay for children to attend school, and we are proud to be part of the empowerment process for these women.” (Watch Chanja Datti employees at work.)
Olufunto self-registered with WEConnect International in November 2015, because she knew that to get her business to the level that she wanted it to go, she would need all the support she could get. Moreover, she believes the education, global connection and networking opportunities that WEConnect International provides to their members are invaluable.
Olufunto is also excited about the global exposure her company has recently received. On September 23, 2016, WEConnect International corporate members Johnson & Johnson, UPS and Walmart made a $300 million commitment to buy from women suppliers, especially those in developing countries, at the Global Citizen Summit. Olufunto was invited to speak at the event to stress the importance of buying from women-owned companies. Describing the experience, she said:
“Standing on the stage with the CEO of WEConnect International, Elizabeth A. Vazquez was amazing. To have been given the opportunity to speak at such an occasion was just great. In that moment, I was very aware that I had become part of a very historic moment. As I mentioned in my speech, women business owners all over the world are not asking for a hand out, but a hand up, the opportunity to represent those women and make that plea was also very humbling. I will continue to make the plea – by buying from women and encouraging corporations to buy more from women. Companies like mine can grow, create quality jobs and contribute to sustainable economic development and poverty alleviation.
The role that women play in the family and their communities cannot be overemphasized. Evidence worldwide shows that investing in women’s economic empowerment yields a ‘double dividend.’ Women tend to spend their earnings more than men on their children’s wellbeing and education, and on amenities that elevate the standard of living across communities like water supply, health care, and economic development. Not only is poverty eradicated in their families and communities, but it means the difference between whether their children get an education, have proper nutrition and live in clean and healthy communities or they find the financial strength to leave abusive relationships.”