Oroville graduate helps empower Tongolese women
OLYMPIA – Prairie Rose Hyde always knew she was part of a global family. When she was posted to Kaboli, Togo as a Peace Corps volunteer, she had no idea that it would be the beginning of an incredible journey, according to the YWCA of Olympia.
After Hyde, who was raised in the Okanogan Highlands and attended school in Oroville, returned from her volunteer work in Togo, where she met her husband, Olowo-n’jo, she enrolled in the graduate program at the University of California-Davis, studying International Agricultural Development and Ethnobotany. Her expertise on the interrelations of plants and people eventually led her to co-found Alaffia, a successful company that focuses poverty alleviation and the advancement of gender equality.
Alaffia’s women’s cooperatives celebrate what the Togolese women have to offer; their unique skills and knowledge. The cooperative members are paid a fair wage (more than four times the national average) for their skills and are able to support their families, while maintaining traditions and managing a sustainable resource. In the first few years of Alaffia’s establishment, Hyde did everything from the creation of the formulas, production, website design, to customer service. Alaffia specializes in high quality, natural skin care products made from indigenous African resources. Portions from the sale of these products are returned to Togo to fund community empowerment projects. Some of her accomplishments through the organization include funding 4,142 births, planting 53,125 trees, donating 7,100 bicycles to Togolese students, building ten schools and providing school supplies to 23,700 students. She has truly become a role model to young women in Togo and in Olympia.
Hyde will be honored, along with Meg Martin, Penelope Partridge, Sandy Roberts, LaTasha Wortham and South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity at the 2016 Women and Businesses of Achievement Celebration, with special guest speaker U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders. The event will be held at Washington Center Main Stage, in Olympia on Oct. 28.
Her parents, Ron Hyde and Judy Elven, still live in the area and are popular musicians who play at many venues in and around the county.