With figures showing the tea industry labour force is dominated by women, Tea Association of Malawi (Taml) has partnered the World University Service of Canada (Wusc) to support women’s empowerment.
The one-year project dubbed Supporting Empowerment of Women (SEW) is aimed at supporting 240 women to be trainers of trainers with access to leadership training and support to impart knowledge to 1 920 women through peer support workshops.
The project will target women in three tea-growing districts of Thyolo, Mulanje and Nkhata Bay.
“This partnership demonstrates our commitment to the development of women in the tea industry. Smallholders account for the future of the tea industry and we want women to have skills and knowledge in gender issues,” said Taml chief executive officer Clement Thindwa at the opening of a one-day workshop in Thyolo on Friday.
He said there is need for improved leadership capacity of women and policies that support them.
In her presentation, SEW project coordinator Bertha Mbichila said despite having more women than men in the industry, few occupy managerial positions.
“We want to see improved leadership capacity of women in the tea industry,” she said, adding that the project also wants to achieve increased tea estate management’s knowledge and understanding of gender and labour laws and improving communication among players in the industry.
The project is being supported with funding from Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC) and Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation.
Taml is the largest formal private labour employer and has 10 estates that mostly manufacture, crush, tear and curl (CTC) black tea.