Weatherhead alum, Funso Lafe leads sustainable energy in Nigeria
In Ondo State, Nigeria, a power company called MIDATCO is working to build a wholly energy-independent village. The village, named Techville, will be an island of reliability within the tumultuous nation, which faces frequent power outages, unemployment fluctuating around 30% and threats of terrorist bombs.
A driving force behind Techville is Funso Lafe, MBA ’10, chief operating officer of U.S.-based MIDATCO, founded by his father, Olu Lafe, who is CEO of the company and is originally from Nigeria. The company has, MBA ‘10 formed a public-private partnership with the Ondo State government, which has allocated 300 hectares of land to the Techville project.
During his years at Weatherhead, Lafe learned to think differently. He was attracted to Weatherhead when he saw its prioritization of sustainability, an idea that still helps him today. “I think that our long-term vision is helping us to succeed now, and embedding sustainability the way that Chris Laszlo [PhD, associate professor of organizational behavior] talks about will position us to be successful for many years,” he said.
When Funso started out at MIDATCO, he had to look at the way people were living in Nigeria, what product he could deliver to help, and how to do it in a way that has never been done before. MIDATCO not only produces renewable power, but also trains workers to design, construct and maintain solar, wind, hydro and waste-burning generators. Their new initiative, PAWA 774, an acronym for Providing Alternative Watts for All 774 local government areas in Nigeria, ultimately aims to provide Nigeria with reliable power 24/7.
Read the full story of Lafe, originally published in the Weatherhead Collection Book Seven: Reach.
Watch a video of Lafe talking about his experience as a student and his current work.