"Finding work was a life-changing opportunity for me, as I could feed my family and take my kids to school and provide for medical needs.”
Twinings is signatory of Malawi2020 and also supports tea communities in our supply chain in Malawi to diversify their income.
striving for a living income
Without a proper income, farmers and their families can become trapped in poverty. This is why, back in 2013, Twinings co-commissioned through the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), the report “Understanding Wage Issues in the Tea Industry” and later in 2015, joined Malawi Tea 2020, a coalition of industry partners, unions, government agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Led by the ETP, the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), Oxfam, the Tea Association of Malawi (TAML) and GIZ (German Development Agency), the programme aims to create a competitive Malawian tea industry in which workers receive a living wage and farmers thrive.
The programme focuses on several drivers from training smallholder farmers in good agricultural practices to improving the wage-setting process through greater worker representation in unions.
In parallel, we work to increase opportunities for tea communities in our supply chain. Indeed, during the dry season, there is very limited work and very few farmers have an alternative way of earning a living, which restrict their livelihoods.
Faris, a former tea plucker with 5 children would like to go back to her former work, as this would help provide for the children’s education and improve the family diet and access to medical services.
“Some women whose husbands leave them are forced to sell their bodies to get money to provide for their kids, and then can get HIV or other diseases."
To help address this, we have partnered with CARE International in Malawi. Working directly with up to 3,500 tea growers and workers in our supply chain. We aim to give communities the tools they need to identify their own priorities in support of diversifying their livelihoods, and to encourage women’s economic empowerment.
“I am looking forward to being engaged in the programme, which can empower women like me, so we can improve our family income.”
"Malawi 2020 is a rare coalition of parties, including Twinings, that have the collective power to bring about positive change in the industry. We welcome the progress made in the last year on wages, nutrition, and worker representation, particularly in the face of a devastating drought caused by the El Niño effect."
Rachel Wilshaw, Ethical Trade Manager at Oxfam