Tony Joy – Founder/Director, Durian Nigeria

Tony Joy creates sustainable solutions and programs to empower women in rural communities. Through Durian Nigeria, an organisation she founded, she is empowering rural women to become self-sufficient by providing them with the knowledge and skills needed to transform their local waste into a means of livelihood.

Her role as founder and director within the organisation are fundraising, communications, programme management, programme and project conceptualisation and implementation, networking, facilitating at their training programs, creative thinking, administrative works and listening.

Joy is invested in creating sustainable and green solutions that will transform rural communities from being seen as poor and marginalised into hubs for innovation and development. She believes it is time to change the narrative from defining communities as poor and marginalised to “cool and creative” .

On vocational training, she engages the women in creating furniture, household items, jewelry and musical instruments from bamboo in the carpentry villa. Women in groups are thought how to use bamboo which is readily available in the community to make beautiful crafts. At the end of the training period, their graduates can work confidently with carpenters and craft centres where bamboo is used.
They are focusing on the use of bamboo being a grass that can grow within 3- 5 years and can be used to replace wood. In this way, they are supporting the environment by advocating for creating sustainable alternatives instead of felling trees.

Read also: Adesuwa Rhodes wins Black Women in Asset Management award

She also trains women in skincare production. Imafon in Ondo state and its neighbouring communities are blessed with cocoa plantation. Cocoa is processed and removed from the cocoa pod husk, and the pod is jettisoned and left to waste. To create value for waste created, they train women in groups on how to make various organic skincare products from these materials, especially focusing on the different varieties of the African black soap.

Then there is the fashion villa. This is not a regular fashion training but one with a focus on transforming fabric waste into new products. They train the women within this space on how to creatively use fairly used materials like jeans, ankara, or clothing that people don’t want, to create as much value as possible.

Tony employs the power of collaboration, partnerships and technology to create hubs for transformation and change within communities. Tony also believes in creating change from within, hence she works from within villages to see that they own their process of change.

Tony Joy is very interested in knowledge sharing and learning especially in the areas of economic empowerment, women empowerment, rural development, local food processing and agriculture, vocational training, waste management and personal development.