The Ethical Tea Partnership
The African tea industry employs hundreds of thousands of women, many of whom are smallholder farmers. The Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) has been campaigning for gender equality and the empowerment of women in countries like Malawi where women account for 75% of the 15,000 smallholder tea farmers.
In Kenya, ETP has been running social issues training at Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) factories for several years and, to date, has trained more than 1,000 managers, supervisors, and members of staff out of a workforce of 9,000. Training has also been run at 6 privately-owned factories reaching a further 240 people. At factories that provide equal employment opportunities, women are taking on roles traditionally reserved for men (such as truck drivers), and 50% of supervisors and 33% of managers are now women.
ETP also works in partnership with UNICEF to help protect children from violence, abuse, and exploitation. UNICEF is also working with 350 communities linked to more than 100 tea estates in Assam to help established adolescent girls groups, giving girls the confidence and knowledge they need to stay safe from exploitation. By attending the groups, they have access to health talks and life skills classes that cover topics such as hygiene, sanitation, nutrition, and cooking.
Through peer support and access to education, ETP aims to reach more than 25,000 girls, helping protect them from exploitation as well as giving them better life opportunities.