Living Standards

Hygiene and sanitation

According to the United Nations, the right to sanitation entitles everyone “to have physical and affordable access to sanitation, in all spheres of life, that is safe, hygienic, secure, and socially and culturally acceptable and that provides privacy and ensures dignity.”

However in many tea estates in India, this is still a work in progress, due to the rising population of tea gardens. We are working in partnership with tea producers and local experts to accelerate the provision of decent toilets and promote hygiene education in communities on tea estates across Assam and Darjeeling.

We began working in Darjeeling in 2010 and extended the work to Assam in 2017. In both regions, we work with producers, local experts and communities to build suitable, safe, hygienic and sustainable sanitary latrines. Twinings employees also contributed through fundraising efforts to provide even more toilet units.

Alongside infrastructure development, we work with communities to raise awareness of health and hygiene practices, from handwashing to menstrual hygiene. We use a range of channels to spread the message, including radio programmes, school lessons, and Adolescent Girls’ and Mothers’ Clubs.

What we have achieved

  • Built over 2,000 toilets across tea estates in our supply chain, providing 12,000+ people with access to proper sanitary latrines.
  • Reached 140,000 adults and children in nine tea gardens through awareness programmes on handwashing and hygiene.

Lalita’s story

Lalita is a tea plucker who lives in Assam with her family. But like many others in the region, she had no proper latrine and very limited privacy, particularly during her menstrual period.

While adequate living quarters and toilets are a legal requirement for workers in Indian tea gardens, rising populations on tea estates mean that the industry has not been able to provide these benefits to everyone.

"With support from this project, we have been able to construct a new toilet and a bathroom unit. My daughter and I are much happier, and we can now take a bath inside a secure bathroom of our own.”