AAIK Programs in Meru County
Empowering Tea Communities in Kenya Partnership
What is the Ethical Tea Partnership?
The Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) is a membership organization working with tea companies, development organizations and governments to improve the lives of tea workers, farmers, and their environment. They aim to drive forward long-term, systemic change across three thematic areas in tea – economics, equality and environment.
The ETP’s work improves the progress that is being made towards attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in tea-growing regions.
The ETP’s work spans the main tea producing regions across the globe. They have expert regional staff in place in Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, China, India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka who understand the challenges faced by tea workers and farmers, as well as the industry in each region.
ActionAid is working in partnership the ETP because we want tea farmers and workers to be empowered and fully informed so they can claim their rights to a positive working environment, free from violence. We believe they should also have access to fair pay and essential services like healthcare, education, clean water and safe housing for themselves and their families.
ActionAid recognizes that the challenges faced by tea growing communities are deep-rooted and complex, and that true progress can only be made through effective collaboration with key industry and government stakeholders. We are working in partnership with ETP to bringing together ETP and ETP member companies’ expertise and experience in the tea sector with ActionAid’s knowledge and experience of community mobilization and women’s economic rights to creating lasting change for tea communities in Kenya.
Women make up most of the tea workforce globally. 60% of tea in Kenya is produced on small scale family farms. Informal workers, typically young, landless women, are hired by farmers on a casual basis without formal contracts and are paid a set rate per kg of tea plucked.
The project is due to run for three years. This three-year collaboration with the Ethical Tea Partnership will help support smallholder farmers and informal workers, 80% of whom are women, and their communities in Kenya.
The project aims to train and empower 1,350 workers as ‘Rights Champions’ – community leaders who will develop the skills and knowledge to train others in turn – and it is estimated that 22,000 smallholder farmers and informal workers will be positively impacted as a result.