Associated British Foods-owned Twinings has announced a further five years of funding for its partnership with Unicef, with the aim of enhancing the lives of children and women living on tea estates in Assam, in north-east India.
The partnership, which started in 2010, has already ensured that 34,000 young women living on tea estates have been reached with interventions centred on nutrition, empowerment and child protection.
Twinings said the programmes funded through the partnership are helping meet a real need within tea communities.
This new phase of the partnership aims to improve the lives of the most vulnerable women, adolescents and children living in 63 tea gardens in the state of Assam, which contributes more than half of India’s tea production.
It aims to promote a protective environment in which adolescent girls and boys are encouraged to stay in school and ensure that women and children have access to quality health services and social protection schemes.
This involves working with tea producers and the local government to build the capacity of healthcare staff and child marriage prohibition officers, promote kitchen gardens, improve sanitation and hygiene practices, provide life skills education for adolescent girls, and support community-level organisations.
Twinings CEO Bob Tavener said: “Our renewed partnership with Unicef builds on the successes of the past eight years and represents an even more ambitious programme to improve the standard of living of tea workers, and that of their families, through access to vital basic services such as quality healthcare.
“It includes advocacy with both state and national government, that should lead to long-term, tangible change for the communities living and working in the region, and is an important part of driving positive change for the communities from which we source around the world.”
Mike Penrose, executive director of Unicef UK, added: “Children growing up in Assam’s highly marginalised rural tea communities face huge problems. They are vulnerable to exploitation, trafficking and abuse, often leave school early and suffer from poor health.
“With the support of partners like Twinings, we have been making a vital difference to the lives of these children over the last eight years, and increasing their chances of growing up to be happy, healthy and safe. We have improved the child protection systems that protect them, empowered them to stand up for their rights and ensured that they have better access to quality healthcare.
“By renewing its support for Unicef’s work in Assam for a further five years, Twinings has once again proven that it is determined to play its part in helping solve the problems faced by tea communities.”
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