grantees » Zotchi Afi Xolali, 1983

Zotchi Afi Xolali, Togo

Zotchi, an ambitious and dedicated Togolese woman, joined the Jeunes Volontaires Pour l’Environnement (JVE) of Togo in 2009 and has shown huge promise as an environmental leader ever since, as she has played a critical role in the establishment of the organization’s water and sanitation program. Zotchi worked on managing projects with JVE that included a national multi-stakeholder dialogue on dams, Togo water and sanitation network development, and community-led total sanitation (CTLS) programs. Her strong will to improve her skills and take on new challenges led the organization to appoint her as coordinator the regional office of Togo. She now leads a team of 7 and is successfully implementing three different programs at community level: a formidable challenge for a young woman in an area known in the country for its patriarchy. Zotchi has provided several training workshops on water and sanitation and biodiversity, and aims to generate political will to support these important initiatives.

With her JWH Initiative grant, Zotchi completed an English language course at Berlitz Language Center in Alexandria, and improved her English language skills to the point where she feels comfortable participating in international conferences and contributing to her field of work with English publications and presentations. Zotchi also completed an internship through Innovation Environnement Développement (IED) Benin, working on analyzing urban waste management systems. Her newly developed technical knowledge, combined with her strong character, has surely made Zotchi an influential environmental leader in her home country. As nominator Sena Alouka says, “her determination and courage, even in front of personal challenges, [is] a great source of inspiration for her colleagues.”

In the near future, Zotchi plans to continue her work at JVE in advancing towards sustainable development. She also plans to write an article on the relationship between waste management and pollution of the urban wetlands in Lome, and will make a short film in collaboration with local journalists that will shed light on waste dumping in urban wetlands.