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Alaffia’s AWARD WINNING Soap Helps Alleviate Poverty in West Africa.

Alaffia is built on a philosophy of fair trade defined by paying a fair local price or wage, offering equal employment opportunities, engaging in environmentally sustainable practices, providing healthy and safe working conditions, being open to public accountability and the women in our Alaffia Village co-op in Togo keep West African traditions alive by indigenously crafting our unrefined shea butter and African black soap.

African Black Soap 

sold out

Pineapple Soap Bar

$5 soap bar 5oz

Sandalwood Soap Bar

sold out

Raspberry Soap Bar

$5 soap bar 5oz

Lavender Soap Bar 


Natural Mocha Soap 

sold out





Each year in sub-Saharan West Africa, 160,000 women die due to complications during pregnancy and/or childbirth. This translates to a 1 in 16 chance of dying compared to 1 in 4,000 in developed countries (UNICEF, 2015). Extreme poverty, inadequate infrastructure and a lack of access to information on reproductive health are primary drivers.

In 2006, we started our Maternal Health Project following the World Health Organization’s recommendations for reducing maternal death rates. This project has two parts: we work with the Togolese Health Clinic System to fund full pre-and postnatal care (including special and urgent needs). Second, we provide trainings on women’s health issues, including nutrition, preventing female genital mutilation and more.

Saving mothers is a necessary step to reducing poverty. When a mother dies, her surviving children’s nutrition, as well as mental and physical health suffer. Subsequently, they are more likely to drop out of school, reducing their ability to rise out of poverty.

The future of African communities depends on the education and empowerment of young people. If our youth are helped with the dilemmas they face, such as harsh poverty and lack of infrastructure, they will be empowered to lead their communities in the future.

Since founding our shea butter cooperative in 2003, we have partnered with retail stores to collect school supplies and books to send to students in Togo, thereby offsetting the financial burden of attending school. We also build schools, donate desks and install new roofs on schools to make learning a more enjoyable experience.

In 2004, Alaffia began collecting and sending used bicycles to Togolese students to encourage them to stay in and complete school. Now, several years into the program, we are seeing a real impact on exam scores and retention in rural schools. 95% of Bicycles For Education recipients graduate secondary school.

We collect used bicycles in and around our communities in Washington and Oregon with the help of retailers, volunteers and Alaffia staff. All costs of this project – from collecting, repairing and shipping bicycles, to customs duties, distribution costs, ongoing maintenance and follow-up – are paid for through the sales of Alaffia products.

This project brings our communities in the US and Togo together. Bicycles that would otherwise be destined for the landfill are encouraging students in Togo to stay in school so they may lead their communities out of poverty.


Deforestation and climate change have had a devastating impact on West African farming communities. Alaffia product sales fund the planting of trees by Togolese farmers to help mitigate soil erosion and improve food security for their families. We also conduct trainings to discourage the cutting of shea trees for firewood and charcoal to preserve this important indigenous resource for future generations. Additionally, we are investigating sustainable fuel alternatives, such as bio-gas and bio-oils, to reduce the demand for wood and charcoal.


In Togo, it is extremely difficult for the visually impaired to obtain eyeglasses. An eye exam can cost up to one month’s wages and a pair of eyeglasses can cost up to four months’. Alaffia collects used eyeglasses at retailer locations throughout the US and employs an optometrist in Togo to correctly fit and distribute them. A pair of eyeglasses is life-changing for a child struggling in school, the elderly with failing vision and adults who have never been able to see clearly.

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