Life Opportunities

Women's economic empowerment

Achieving equality and empowerment for women has a positive impact on the health and education of their children, their families’ livelihoods, and society as a whole. We help women in tea communities build a better future by providing them with training on financial literacy, professional skills and entrepreneurship.

Since 2017, Twinings has been working with CARE International to empower communities in Sri Lankan tea gardens through the establishment of Community Development Forums (CDFs). CDFs open up new communication channels, enabling workers to address grievances with their employers and hold businesses accountable.

CDFs also create new income opportunities for women and youth on tea gardens by providing small loans and delivering training on business and income-generating activities to improve their livelihoods, such as dairy farming, poultry farming, intercropping, home gardening and mushroom farming.

Throughout our Sourced with Care programme, we also ensure that we take into account the many obstacles women face. For example, women often have household and family duties after work, so training sessions need to be organised during working hours to ensure they have the same access to opportunities as men. This, in turn, raises awareness of gender-specific issues among suppliers while promoting practices and systems that empower women.

“My husband did not allow me to engage in social work. After coming to the CDF and attending the trainings, I was able convince my husband and get his support also to organize events done by the CDF” – Ms. Nandabalini of Aislaby Estate

What we have achieved

Since 2019, the partnership with CARE has empowered 30,424 people and supported over 400 women with health interventions. Estates who have implemented a CDF have seen an increased satisfaction of workers and managers with relationships and social welfare, an increased contribution regarding productivity, alongside an upskilling of training around gender issues and improved access to services and facilities. 86% of households captured in an impact assessment agreed that the CDF had played a vital role in bridging relationships between management and communities. 81% of issues raised at CDF meetings were resolved through discussions, and 53% of those issues were raised by women.

Meet Rasmina

Rasmina joined our CDF in 2017. Lacking confidence, Rasmina never felt she could work or have a voice. Rasmina is now the first female assistant field officer on the Dambatenne Estate.

“CDF molded me to be what I am today. I was a passive and shy personality. CDF empowered me to find the potential within me. I am proud of being courageous to accept the “Man’s job” which is not favored by any woman. Now I am being respected and recognized as a role model in the estate. I am inquisitive to learn more and improve myself.”

In Guatemala, where we source our cardamom, women, in particular, face barriers to economic opportunities, low levels of schooling, unequal access to basic services, early marriage, and teen pregnancies, which in turn constrain development in Alta Verapaz.

A key aspect of our project with Mercy Corps in Guatemala is to support agricultural promoters, and with 45% of agricultural promoters being women, it is vital to show how women’s capacity is utilised to its maximum potential. Using Mercy Corps’ ‘savings and loan group’ methodology, the project also promotes the financial inclusion of women and supports families to adopt a financial culture based on family savings.