Lipton, one of the world's largest tea brqnds, has announced its commitment towards providing financial and business tools to 80,000 Kenyan women tea farmers. Lipton will be doing this in collaboration with WE Charity - a social enterprise that says it creates socially conscious products and experiences to help support the charities it runs.
The two organizations have said their work together will involve empowering up to 80,000 women in tea farming communities across Kenya by providing them access to financial and business skills training where they will learn financial fundamentals from budgeting and cost-pricing to creating business plans and applying for loans.
"We are proud to have the opportunity to support the women tea farmers in Kenya, and are keen to let people know that their Lipton purchase makes a difference in these women's lives. Our goal is to help them build a cycle of learning, sharing and empowerment within their communities that will help future generations of Kenyan families," said George Hamilton, Tea Director at Unilever, parent company of the Lipton tea brand.
Kenya is among the top tea farming countries in the world specializing mostly in black tea. This is thanks to the benefits of the tropical eastern Afrikan climate which means that tea production in Kenya contributes significantly to the country's economy.
Among some of the skills Kenya's female tea farmers participating in the programme will be:
Financial literacy including communication, bookkeeping and loan distribution
Leadership fundamentals like conducting corporate elections, drafting policies and establishing group constitutions
Entrepreneurship tools from marketing to pricing
Health management, including stress and substance abuse education
It will be interesting to keep track of the programme given the massive number of tea farmers it hopes to enroll and empower. There has generally been widespread criticism of programmes that have a mass approach to startup, SME and small scale farming entrepreneurship training and empowerment as they tend to have a one-size-fits-all approach and ignore the differences that each business faces and assist them to grow on an individual basis.