"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."
In India, Twinings works with producers and partner organisations to accelerate improvements in access to water and sanitation on tea gardens.
Improving access to clean water and sanitation in Assam and Darjeeling, India
Twinings began working to build sanitary latrines, improve access to clean water and raise awareness on good hygiene practices with tea communities in Darjeeling since 2010 and extended the work to Assam in 2017.
Lalita is a tea plucker and lives in Assam with her family, but like many other families, she had no proper latrine, and very limited privacy, in particular during her menstrual period.
Adequate living quarters, toilets and drinking water facilities are part of the legal benefits that must be provided to worker in Indian tea gardens, but rising populations on tea estates, and in particular non-workers, means that the industry has not been able to provide adequate benefits for everyone.
“Previously we had a temporary pit toilet made of bamboo, which was very unhygienic, and my family and I could not bear the foul smell especially during the rainy season.”
So far, in partnership with Mercy Corps and the Indian Tea Association, we have built 1,662 latrines and installed 36 water systems, benefiting over 8,000 people.
Access to clean water and sanitation not only improves people’s health, but also enables women and children to, respectively, attend school or participate in economic activities, instead of spending time collecting water, which improves their livelihoods.
In Darjeeling, we have achieved a 79% decrease in waterborne diseases in participating tea communities and observed that household saved on average US$52 on medical expenses.
Lalita’s daughter, Dipti is a student. She also conducts regular sessions with primary school children on the estate on the importance of handwashing. To date, 104,625 people have been reached in tea communities in India with our hygiene awareness programme.
“Understanding good hygiene practices from a young age means a happy and healthy future for communities to come!”.
We are continuing our work to build more sanitary latrines and access to clean water in India, so people in tea communities can live a dignified life.