Meet the innovative women we’re working with in Malawi on #NationalTeaDay

On #nationalteaday we want to highlight the stories of some of the amazing, innovative women we are working with. By 2020 we’re aiming to help over 300,000 women through our global programmes.

In Malawi over 70% of the population live under the poverty line, and nearly 25% of these are female headed households. Through our work we’re supporting women to improve their finances.

The tea industry in Malawi is the largest employer of women in tea. Our farmer field schools train farmers on the best farming techniques to improve their crops and yield, which increases their profits. 4,500 farmers have taken part and 75% of those are women like Elesi.

Elesi is a member of the Farmer Field School training which has supported tea farmers to improve their farming techniques and increase their yields. With the extra profit she has made she has built a new home for her family and is looking forward to installing new bathrooms inside her home.

This has inspired her daughter, Doreen to take part in the farmer field school as she can see the extra money her mum is making. Doreen says she is now “inspired” by her mother and told us; “I am so proud of her.”

Through programmes like farmer field school programmes, and our cookstove programme which train women on how to make, sell and use cookstoves to increase their incomes, we’re supporting women to become more independent and inspire their families. The women who are taking part earn extra income that enables them to pay their children’s school fees, meet household expenses and inspires their children and the young women in their community to become more financially independent.

Angela takes part in our cookstove programme and says it has “empowered” her; “before I was completely dependent on my husband. Now I have my own money and I make my own budgets”. She can now focus on buying new clothes for her children and healthy food with the extra money she makes.

Angela can provide more for her family and act as a role model for other women, she says; “women who are economically empowered are more likely to be respected and the family is stronger for it. I have high hopes for (my four daughters). I want them to have an education and get good jobs.”

We train women to develop the skills and knowledge they need to make and sell their cookstoves. Women make up 90% of our cookstove making programme and 75% of those selling the stoves are also women.