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Thursday, June 13, 2024

International Tea Day 2024 : Promoting women empowerment

Date:

 The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations is celebrating the International Tea Day under the poignant theme “Honouring women around the world, from crop to cup”.

The Indian Tea Association’s commitment to sustainability echoes the resonance of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, according to a media release here on Tuesday.

It endeavours to fortify stakeholder engagement in fostering ethical, environmental, and safety compliances. In alliance with national and international NGOs, the ITA endeavours to champion the holistic well-being of the tea community.

This journey encompasses a multifaceted approach—embracing initiatives ranging

from maternal health and childcare to education, sanitation, and gender equality.

Through grassroots interventions, the ITA upholds the sanctity of life, nurturing a harmonious tapestry of wellness, equality, and prosperity.

Within the tea plantations of India, women stand as the unsung heroes, constituting an impressive 50% of the 1.2 million-strong workforce. The annals of tea production unveil their indispensable role— a narrative deeply woven with their unwavering dedication and unparalleled contributions.

From the meticulous picking of tea leaves to the intricate processes of processing and packaging, women have been the heartbeat of the tea industry for centuries.

” Some of the key initiatives and result areas under the Assam ITA – UNICEF project in 159

member estates are : Strengthening of adolescent groups – More than 24000 girls and 5000 boys are registered as club members in 159 ITA estates in Assam. 81.41% pregnant women are registered in the first trimester, 89.44% recently delivered women received four ANC, 98.18% institutional deliveries recorded in Hospitals, 57.37% adolescent girls received IFA tablets, 64.53% women under pregnancy consumed 180 IFA tablets and school drop outs reduced to 10% in 2023 against 38% in 2011, ” it said.

” More than 58% of Girls pass out from school of which more than 70% enroll for higher studies, 67116 households connected with functional household tap connection under JJM. This primarily benefits women. 363 JJM schemes installed in tea estates. Use of sanitary napkins by more than 85 % of young girls aged 13 – 20 years. This is a phenomenal rise from 20% a few years back. Young and middle aged women too have adopted to modern menstrual hygiene methods in Tea estates, promotion of emergency preparedness and response, institutional delivery, newborn

care and increasing awareness among mothers on breast feeding and infant nutrition, optimal

complementary feeding. “

ITA and UNICEF West Bengal partnership since 2021-22 is strengthening the Institutional

Mechanism in 33 tea estates in West Bengal to prevent child marriage, child trafficking, unsafe migration.

More than 50,000 Children are under the ambit of this Program which covers a population of 2 lakhs in 33 tea estates of Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Darjeeling Districts.

The project also covers parents of Children, especially their Mothers. The program focuses on behavioral change amongst parents towards prevention of early marriage, and unsafe

childhood.

On the other hand the program encourages compulsory education, skill

development, exposure to obtain legal aid in times of distress and reporting of cases on

Childline as well as parental involvement in guiding their children through safe childhood.

Tea estate community mobilisers have counselled more than 4000 families through home visits

and guided children to enroll in schools to complete studies. Amongst the notable events, the

observance of the Child Rights week, performing Street plays, displaying key messages through

posters in Tea estates were done.

The ITA through its program partnership with UNICEF Delhi on Responsible Business practices

evolving around Child and parents have undertaken a project in Assam and West Bengal on

promoting Family friendly policies in Tea estates. Estate Management has rendered full support

to promote the Child Rights and Business Principles program, a commitment to fulfill the

Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nation.

The symbiotic partnership between the Indian Tea Association and the

Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) heralds a new era of transformation. The journey

started in 2021 with the aim to improve the demand, access and consumption of safe and

nutritious food by tea worker households with a specific focus on female members of

households in 34 number of tea estates in Jorhat, Tezpur and other adjoining districts in Assam.

An innovative supply chain model has been launched in the tea estates with retail shops

providing healthy and nutritious food products through novel networks with local distributors

to reduce the burden and cost of sourcing products from wholesalers in the nearby town.

The

project has evoked great response with a visible behavioral change towards adopting health

food habits.

The array of initiatives bear witness to transformative change. Strengthening adolescent

groups, fortifying maternal healthcare, and bolstering educational endeavours stand as pillars

of progress.

School dropout rates have decreased, and aspirations for higher education soar

high. The tapestry of change extends beyond education—provision of sanitary facilities,

maternal and child healthcare, and financial empowerment weave a fabric of resilience,

empowerment and nutrition.

The sustained efforts of ITA in collaboration with International NGOs like UNICEF, GAIN, ETP

etc. addressing social, economic and welfare issues of plantation communities over the years

echo far and wide, diminishing the shadows of inequality and heralding a new dawn of hope.

” As we reflect upon the endeavours of the ITA in nurturing social, economic, and welfare

initiatives, we stand witness to the empowerment of women in tea estates. Their unwavering commitment to fostering a healthy, motivated, and productive workforce echoes far and wide, resonating with the applause of international NGOs. Today, as we raise our tea cups in celebration, let us not merely savour its essence but honour the untold stories of resilience and triumph that adorn its journey—from crop to cup, ” the statement added.

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