Social Issues Training

Even though a lot of auditing against social and environmental standards goes on in the tea industry, complex and entrenched issues, such as harassment and discrimination, still persist. Because they are difficult to resolve through auditing alone complementary approaches are required.

Harassment and/or discrimination in the workplace, coupled with lack of effective reporting mechanisms can leave workers feeling unsafe, vulnerable, and unmotivated. This can result in lower productivity and increased absenteeism. At tea processing factories in Kenya the following issues are known to happen:

  • Discrimination by gender, religion, and ethnicity
  • Harassment and intimidation in the work place
  • Unfair job and housing allocation
  • Verbal, physical, or sexual abuse

How ETP is helping

Originally we worked with the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and rolled out their widely-respected Supervisor Management Training programme at Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) factories, which was developed in consultation with private companies, NGOs, and trade unions.

In 2012, together with IDH and KTDA, we developed our own training programme and began rolling it out to all 65 of KTDA’s processing factories, privately-owned tea estates, and smallholder farmers. We also developed a Social Issues Training manual as part of the project. The training covers:

  • Gender awareness and advocacy
  • Gender-based violence and human rights
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Leadership/governance
  • Contractual issues
  • Workplace communication and reporting
  • Kenyan-specific law on gender, discrimination, and harassment

Overall the training has had a very positive impact both in the workplace and across surrounding communities. A key result of the training has been the setting up of gender committees. The committees have worker representatives from different parts of the factory and they advise management and the factory board on gender issues, support the development of relevant policies, and resolve issues relating to discrimination and gender issues within the workplace.

Key Achievements

  • Over 1,000 members of KTDA’s 9,000 staff have been trained
  • 800 smallholder farmers trained
  • Gender committees established at all KTDA factories and female representation on each factory’s board is now compulsory
  • Employment practices have changed so that job roles are now open to both male and female candidates
  • Women now work in traditionally male roles such as driving trucks
  • A new system has been introduced to allow female smallholder farmers to collect payments for green leaf
  • Shift in attitude towards controversial issues such as female genital mutilation

Scaling Up

As part of our partnership with IDH the training will be delivered to every KTDA factory as well as private factories in Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda.

Latest from our Blog

KTDA’s Female Board Directors Change the Gender Landscape

17 August 2016

The inaugural Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) conference for KTDA female Directors took place on 11 and 12th July 2016. Mr. Tiampati, the chief Executive Officer of KTDA, officially…

Read more

Improving the Lives of Women and Girls Across Tea Communities

8 March 2016

Today is International Women’s Day, a celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. The day also exists to remind people that globally…

Read more

Pope Francis Speaks About Urgent Need for Action on Climate Change

2 December 2015

Last week was a momentous week for Kenyans, hosting Pope Francis’ first visit to Africa. My colleague, Joseph Wagurah and I were part of the huge crowd of people,…

Read more

Latest Resources

Manual: Social Issues Training

6 March 2015

Manual: Social Issues Training This social issues training manual has been developed to support capacity building in the tea sector on gender and social issues. It supports a training…


Case Study: Promoting Fairer Working Environments (Kenya)

30 May 2012

Case Study: Promoting Fairer Working Environments (Kenya) Harassment and discrimination are hard to identify and address through traditional monitoring and auditing. The case study describes ETP’s experience of rolling…