Olufunto Boroffice, founder and CEO, Chanja Datti Ltd Nigeria 2021 WE Empower Awardee, Sub-Saharan Africa
The challenges of poverty, gender inequality and the lack of opportunities create struggles that are often difficult to overcome. Olufunto Boroffice is leading Chanja Datti, an innovative company in Nigeria that allows vulnerable communities in Nigeria to recycle waste and make a sustainable livelihood. WE Empower contributing author, Sidney McKee, highlights how Chanja Datti converts burdensome waste material into opportunities that boost the quality of life for many.
As the Founder and CEO of Chanja Datti, Boroffice focuses on not only tackling the prominent challenges derived from waste generation in Nigeria, but she contributes to alleviating the adversities associated with poverty, access to education and gender equality as well. Boroffice explained, “We decided to strategically approach solving this problem by providing a platform that transforms waste to wealth, while also empowering the unemployed women, at-risk youths and waste pickers."
Nigeria has a disproportionate global ratio of children who are out-of-school with nearly 1 in 5 of all unschooled children being represented in the country. Boroffice clarified that, “These numbers are driven by various factors, including economic barriers and practices that discourage the attendance of formal education, especially for girls."
To combat this issue, Chanja Datti supports SDG 4: Quality Education and provides an innovative solution called the “Bottles for Books” initiative, where recyclables are used as a currency to provide an education for children. Over 800 kids now attend school who previously were unable.
Creating safer opportunities
Some of the most vulnerable societal groups in Nigeria rely on waste picking as a source of income. The unhygienic and hazardous conditions of traditional waste picking can lead to infections, injury, and sometimes death. To assist in fostering SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, as well as safer working conditions, Chanja Datti offers fundamental educational and professional training to the impoverished.
Boroffice highlighted, “We have been able to provide genuine social inclusion programs for over 1,000 waste pickers in Abuja by supporting them with opportunities by the development of basic literacy, financial inclusion, and social resources."
Chanja Datti also strives to lessen the high unemployment rate of Nigeria by providing direct professional opportunities to underrepresented groups, such as women and waste pickers.
Alleviating Environmental Waste and Hazards
A major challenge in Nigeria surrounding waste is the sheer volume that goes uncollected. Boroffice recalled that “There are also over 8,000 tons of waste generated daily in Abuja and only about 30% is collected." Since this represents just one city in Nigeria, the issue is extensive.
Chanja Datti has established Cash4Trash recycling hubs across the country that promotes citizens to become engaged in recycling and reducing trash buildup. Through increased awareness and civic involvement, these recycled materials are supplied for repurposing in manufacturing processes. Through this, Boroffice furthers SDG 11: Responsible Consumption and Production.
Olufunto Boroffice is fostering a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient Nigeria through the innovative and essential work of Chanja Datti. When reflecting upon what officials can do to support women entrepreneurs she said: “I would recommend the removal of barriers for female entrepreneurs such as educational disparities, legal barriers to employment and care work responsibilities. For many female entrepreneurs, such constraints are often mutually reinforcing."