Unicef and ETP have been working to improve the lives of those in tea communities for many years. In 2014, a major £1.2 million partnership was formed to bring together all key stakeholders in the tea industry as well as public and private partners to tackle child exploitation.
Girls are at the heart of the programme as they are most vulnerable to a range of child protection issues including abuse, forced marriage, leaving education early, and trafficking. ETP and UNICEF worked together to improve girls’ access to education and training.
We know that more needs to be done in Assam and so together we are launching a new collective commitment to lead the industry. That’s why we are also launching an industry first with a new commitment for women, children, and families in Assam.
In June 2018, the programme was significantly scaled up to build on its success. The Improving the Lives of Women and Children in Assam’s Tea Communities programme aims to improve the lives of an estimated 250,000 direct and indirect beneficiaries. It will reach more than a quarter of all tea estates in Assam and is the biggest programme of its kind there.
What has been achieved so far?
Over the last three years, the ETP-UNICEF Partnership Programme worked with 350 communities linked to more than 100 tea communities in Assam to help give young people brighter futures and a good quality of life. As a result:
- 35,000 girls were equipped with essential skills to reduce the risk of violence, abuse, and exploitation
- 350 Adolescent Girls’ Groups (AGGs) were set up in 104 tea communities
- 300 Child Protection Committees (CPCs) formed to protect children against trafficking and unsafe migration
- 1,000 front line staff trained on child protection issues to build trust between tea communities and local agencies and keep them safe.
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What does the programme do?
Improving the Lives of Women and Children in Assam Tea Communities will work to make children safer through:
- Adolescent Girls Groups (AGGs) which will empower girls with the confidence and knowledge to stay safe from exploitation and to pursue their full potential.
- Child Protection Committees (CPCs) which will support community members to:
- understand the dangers of child trafficking and unsafe migration
- demand the safe return of children engaged in exploitative labour
- reconsider the forced marriage of their daughters
- Work with state and district government to improve the quality of education and the effectiveness of child protection policies to help make a sustainable difference to the lives of children now and in many years to come.
Who is funding the programme?
The first phase of the partnership (2014-2017) was supported and funded by some of the most influential stakeholders in the sector. These include: IDH (the Sustainable Trade Initiative); ETP members, Tesco, OTG (Meßmer), Tata Global Beverages (Tetley, Tata Tea), Taylors of Harrogate (Yorkshire Tea) and Typhoo.
The next phase of the Improving Lives programme has just launched and will be supported and funded by IDH (the Sustainable Trade Initiative); ETP members, Tesco, OTG (Meßmer), Tata Global Beverages (Tetley, Tata Tea), Taylors of Harrogate (Yorkshire Tea), Typhoo, Starbucks Foundation, and Jacobs Douwe Egbert; and the Tata Trusts.