The Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), Taylors of Harrogate and Lujeri Tea Estate have partnered on a new project called Ulalo ‘Bridge’, in Malawi. This project sits within a wider programme of work, addressing the complex, deep-rooted challenges of gender inequality in the tea supply chain in Malawi.
The three-year project running from September 2021 until August 2024 will focus on developing a number of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs), to educate and enhance financial literacy and decision-making skills, for tea workers at Lujeri Tea Estates.
These are informal self-managed savings groups that provide its members with an effective way to make savings, and access loans, in a safe environment.
ETP has been working on VSLA projects in Malawi since 2016 and has seen first-hand the benefits for tea communities in building knowledge, as well as financial and technical skills that strengthen income-generating activities.
ETP runs additional training alongside implementation of the VSLAs which include record-keeping, financial management, and entrepreneurship and business idea training.
Recognising that women and children are those most marginalised, the Ulalo project actively works to tackle inequalities in tea communities.
The project is helping to empower women by enhancing their economic resilience - breaking down barriers to finance, building confidence and encouraging decision making. These activities can often result in increasing household incomes for families.
With a large ambition of establishing over 550 VSLA groups, the Ulalo project hopes to directly impact over 10,000 tea workers, 60 percent of which would be women.
To-date on the Ulalo project, 107 VSLA groups have been set up, each consisting of between 15-25 people.
Currently, 20 lead workers are being trained to help develop and implement the VSLAs.
Find out more
Read more about our global work to build tea farmers and workers’ economic resilience through VSLAs.
Click here to learn more about other initiatives ETP runs in Malawi.