In support of a U.S. government initiative to bring economic assistance and security to millions of women around the world, Olowo-n’djo Tchala, the co-founder of Olympia-based natural personal care brand Alaffia, recently participated in a launch event in Washington, D.C.

The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, led by White House Senior Adviser Ivanka Trump and with support from the U.S. Department of State, the National Security Council, and other agencies, aims to bring economic assistance and security to 50 million women across the world — particularly in developing areas — by 2025.

The launch event for the new global campaign included a roundtable discussion with leaders from around the world, governmental agencies and private sector partners about supporting female entrepreneurs and women-led businesses. It also included a presidential signing ceremony.

Tchala was invited to attend the event due to his leadership in developing Alaffia’s women-centered social enterprise model, in which ingredients like handcrafted shea butter and coconut oil are ethically sourced from Alaffia’s women’s cooperatives in West Africa (where Tchala was raised) and then used to create natural personal care and beauty products here in the United States.

“It is an immense honor to be invited to participate in and support this global initiative to support women’s economic empowerment,” said Tchala in a statement. “Alaffia was founded with the mission to alleviate poverty and reduce suffering around the world, and our vision to continue doing that through women-led projects in West Africa aligns perfectly with the heart and spirit of this partnership.”

Since its founding in 2003, the brand has been on a mission to alleviate poverty and advance gender equality and has led numerous empowerment initiatives including education, maternal health, female genital mutilation eradication, eyeglasses and reforestation projects. In 2018, Alaffia’s empowerment projects and women’s cooperatives in West Africa impacted more than 80,000 people.

Tchala’s recent trip to Washington, D.C., marked the second time the U.S. government has honored Alaffia and its leadership team.

Last October, the U.S. Department of State presented Alaffia co-founders Tchala and Prairie Rose Hyde with the 2018 Award for Corporate Excellence in Women’s Economic Empowerment.