The Tea Association of Malawi (TAML), held a Partners Engagement Workshop from November 2-3, 2023, at Sunbird Livingstonia Beach in Salima.
The workshop's central theme was "Promoting Gender and Social Inclusion in the Tea Industry: Building a culture of equality and protecting human rights."
During this event, various stakeholders came together to discuss essential issues related to gender equality, child labor, and sustainability within the Malawi tea industry.
The workshop began with remarks from the P.S from the ministry of Labour, Mr. Wezi Kayira as he highlighted his appreciation of TAML's commitment to promoting decent work and contributing to employment efforts in line with the government's mandate. The government recognizes TAML's efforts in protecting the rights of all workers and partnering with various stakeholders.
TAML Board Chair Sangwani Hara giving opening remarks
Tea Association of Malawi Board Chairperson Sangwani Hara also spoke about the significance of the workshop. Tonda Chinangwa, TAML CEO presented its initiatives to promote decent work, including collective bargaining agreements (CBA) and gender initiatives guided by its 2017 policy (currently under review). The association is actively involved in addressing child labor in the tea supply chain through the Accelerating Child Labor Elimination (ACCEL) program. TAML continues its engagements with the government and partners through various workshops, including the recent one.
The Guest of Honor; Hon. Catherine Gotani Hara M.P - Speaker of the National Assembly, giving her opening remarks, commended TAML for organizing the workshop and emphasized its importance in sustaining the tea industry. The government's commitment to gender equality and social inclusion was evident through various legal frameworks and policies, such as the National Gender Policy and the Gender Equality Act of 2017. The Guest of Honor also appreciated TAML's action and encouraged the industry to move beyond numbers and focus on empowering women in leadership positions.
Guest of Honor, Hon. Catherine Gotani Hara MP- Speaker of the National Assembly
During the workshop, several presentations were made by different Member tea estates and partner organizations such as International Labour Organization (ILO) Water Witness International (WWI), Trust Africa, Solidaridad and Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP). Some key issues discussed included gender representation, child labor, and strategies for improving the working environment for women in the industry.
Naming'omba Tea Estate emphasized its zero-tolerance policy on discrimination and presented initiatives to mitigate child labor, including providing education and well-trained daycare workers.
Namingomba Tea Estate giving a presentation
Lujeri Tea Estate shared its policies that have been adopted on human rights and to ensure gender equality and the positive changes that have resulted from these policies.
Conforzi Tea Plantation discussed its efforts to ensure equality in recruitment, address harassment, and raise awareness about child labor.
Makandi Tea Estate shared its strategies for reducing gender-specific vulnerabilities and promoting gender equality, such as providing breastfeeding rooms.
Satemwa Tea Estate presented its 15-year commitment to combating child labor and discussed various interventions for sustainable practices in the industry.
EPM shared its initiatives for ending gender-based violence, promoting inclusive leadership, and enhancing women's economic agency through bursaries and scholarships.
Environmental sustainability initiatives and projects were discussed by various partner organizations, emphasizing the importance of addressing climate change, water stewardship, and carbon credits within the tea industry.
Participants posing for a group photo
The workshop concluded with several key recommendations and a roadmap for the tea industry's sustainable development. The TAML Partners Engagement Workshop brought together stakeholders committed to promoting gender equality, social inclusion, and sustainability in the Malawi tea industry. It showcased the industry's dedication to addressing critical issues such as gender representation, child labor, and environmental sustainability.
By implementing the recommendations and initiatives discussed at the workshop, the industry can move closer to achieving its goals of equality, a continued commitment to a child labor free tea industry and sustainable growth.