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.
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.
What we have achieved
Helped 56 young women establish and develop small businesses by providing them with micro loans and training on financial management and record keeping.
Established 13 savings groups, consisting of 277 women (primarily mothers) to meet weekly and receive monthly financial and entrepreneurial training in Guatemala
Through our project with UNICEF in Assam, 50,910 mothers have been empowered to open savings accounts, which can help to manage payments for their children’s education as well as help to support the needs of their family.
Ruvani, 24, works on a casual basis in a Sri Lankan tea garden. She wanted to start her own business but, like many tea workers in Sri Lanka, does not have an identity card to apply for a loan from a formal financial institution.
Through the Community Development Forum on the estate, she received a micro loan at 0% interest rate as well as useful training, which she has used to start a food business selling snacks and tea.
That was the first time I have ever attended a training in my life time. These trainings gave me understanding on accounting, profit and loss, record keeping, and I am sure will be very helpful to operate our small business … it has also boosted my self-confidence”