Washington Business Winter 2018 | Washington Business - Page 42

business backgrounder | industry This is How Private Enterprise Alleviates Poverty Alaffia leads by example, building bridges between Washington and Africa. Jason Hagey The Tumwater-based fair trade skin care company was founded for the purpose of lifting people out of poverty and empowering women. Now in growth mode, leaders in the U.S. and Togo are taking notice. At A Glance Alaffia was founded on the belief that private enterprise can be used as a tool to eliminate poverty and empower women. The company employs thousands of women in Togo, Africa, both directly and through a cooperative, gathering the raw ingredients that are shipped to the U.S. and used to make a popular line of natural skin care and body products. 2017 was a busy year for the growing company, starting with being featured in AWB’s Grow Here advertising campaign. Alaffia also hosted a visit to Washington state from the U.S. ambassador to Togo, and participated in a trade summit in Togo that drew leaders from 38 nations. Alaffia.com 42 association of washington business In April, then-AWB Board Chair Wendy Sancewich sat down with 25 women leaders from across Washington’s employer community for a leadership luncheon with four members of the Alaffia Empowerment Council. — Olowo-n’djo Tchala, co-founder and CEO, Alaffia The Alaffia Empowerment Council consists of women leaders from Togo, Africa, where Tumwater-based Alaffia employs thousands of women. During the lunch meeting, the women described how the council works to alleviate poverty in Africa and empower women through economic opportunity and health and well-being support. The council is just one of the ways that Alaffia, a mission-driven, fair trade skin care company, is working to improve life in Olympia and in the West African nation of Togo, which ranks among the world’s poorest countries. “It’s not about taking your profit and giving it away. It’s not about that. It’s about simply looking to your community and seeing what support you can provide.”