Irene is a mother of three who has worked as a tea plucker for more than 10 years. Irene decided that she could not afford any more children, nor would it be good for her health, but her husband would not allow her to use birth control. In Kenya, we help increase health awareness and access to health services for women on tea gardens.
“I now live happily with my husband thanks to HERhealth”.
Raising health awareness for women in Kenya
In 2015 we started a partnership with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) to implement the HERhealth programme in communities in our supply chain in Kenya.
Women make up most of the workforce on tea estates in Kenya but they often lack the knowledge and resources needed to properly look after their own health. This can lead to high maternal mortality rates, HIV infection, pressure on family finances due to high fertility rates, lack of productivity and low income.
HERhealth aims to tackle these issues by raising female workers’ health awareness and access to health services, particularly concerning reproductive health. The approach also benefits the supply chain by reducing absenteeism and improving worker-management relations.
As part of the HERhealth programme a group of workers are selected to serve as Peer Health Educators (PHE). The PHEs participate in a series of training sessions (topics include reproductive health, sexually transmitted infections, family planning, pre- and post-natal care, nutrition, etc.) that take place in the workplace. Once trained, these women share their knowledge with other workers, friends and family.
Irene lives and works on a tea garden that took part to the HERhealth programme, and is one of the PHEs. She feels that her health has improved as a result of it and she has found a form of contraceptive that works for her. Her productivity at work has also increased by 25% as a result, and so she earns a better income.
So far we have reached 675 women and 551 men in two tea gardens, with a variety of improvements in health awareness among the women, including 100% now able to name at least one family planning method (it was 30% before the project) and 77% knowing that HIV can be transmitted through mother to child during pregnancy and breastfeeding (it was 9.5% before).
We continue to rollout HERhealth programme on tea estates and smallholder farmers in our supply chain in Kenya and we are currently working to reach an additional 6,000 farmers.
In July 2017 Twinings announced its commitment, in support of Family Planning 2020, to expand its programme to improve women’s health, particularly concerning reproductive health and family planning, to an additional 40,000 women in our supply chain in Kenya by 2020.