Cultivating Change: Celebrating the women behind the ‘Women in Tea’ project

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we are delighted to highlight the inspirational women behind our ‘Women in Tea’ project. The project was launched in 2023 with the aim of improving the health of women working within the tea gardens and the wider community by providing them with the choice to use menstrual cups through RubyCup. For the last year we have been funding a scheme where Alstar, RubyCup and Ufulu are distributing menstrual cups to women who work in the Kenyan and Malawian tea gardens where we buy our tea, as well as local schools. The cups are given out during a two-hour educational workshop where the women learn about menstrual care, reproductive health, as well as how to use their new cup.

The initiative aims to empower, support, and elevate the women within the tea industry. Behind this ground-breaking project are hard-working inspirational women who have spearheaded this important work.

 

 

    Anne Chepkoech – MD at Alstar Ltd.

Anne Chepkoech, is the Managing Director at Alstar and has been a pivotal part of the Women in Tea project. Founded in 2008, Alstar is a 100% women-owned Kenyan tea company that aims to create positive socio-economic change within the tea industry. Through its empowerment programmes it aims to create sustainable livelihoods for smallholder farmers and is aiming to enable more women and young people to earn a living within the tea trade value chain. Anne has been a pivotal part of Women in Tea, specifically the menstrual hygiene project. This project, has as it’s primary goal, improving the health of women and girls in the tea gardens of Kenya by providing them with the choice to use menstrual cups through RubyCup. Alstar also has provided health and wellbeing classes to women and girls in the Kenyan tea industry where they have been receiving information and training on menstrual cups.

 

 

 Amaia Arranz – CEO RubyCup

Another key player in the Women in Tea project is Amaia Arranz, Chief Executive Officer of RubyCup. RubyCup is a pioneering charity transforming menstrual health for women globally. The charity distributes menstrual cups, revolutionizing menstrual care throughout the globe. By replacing disposable products with eco-friendly, reusable cups, the organisation not only tackles period poverty but also promotes environmental sustainability. The charity also offers menstrual health education, empowering women with knowledge and choice.

 

 

 Vanessa Kivugale – Menstrual Health Educator & RubyCup Ambassador

Vanessa Kivugale is RubyCup’s Ambassador and is its Menstrual Health Educator in Kenya. Vanessa has been instrumental in the Women in Tea project and is responsible for traveling to the Kenyan tea gardens and educating women and girls on the benefits of menstrual hygiene. She also provides a follow up service where she checks in on anyone who has begun to use a menstrual cup and answers any concerns or questions.

 Joyce Maina – International Tea Expert and Consultant

Joyce is a globally respected tea expert with over 30 years of industry experience. As a consultant, she was involved in assessing the viability of the project in the tea industry in Kenya and identifying how Ahmad Tea could implement it on the ground. Joyce has been instrumental in advising Ahmad Tea on the most efficient way to roll-out the Women in Tea project in Kenya.

Widge Woolsey – CEO Ufulu Malawi

Widge Woolsey, CEO of Ufulu Malawi has also been an inspirational member of the project. Ahmad Tea initially learnt about the social, health and economic benefits of educating women and girls on menstrual hygiene following supporting one of Ufulu’s projects in Malawi. The charity gives free menstrual cups to women and girls, via educational workshops. The workshops are run by Malawian women in their local area and all the supplies and training materials are given by the charity.

 Zahra Afshar – Head of Legal, Human Rights & Sustainability, Ahmad Tea

And finally, our own Zahra Afshar. Zahra’s commitment to ensuring that all the women in our tea supply chain will have access to menstrual hygiene products is inspiring and she continues to champion the empowerment of women in all areas of our business.

The collaboration between Ahmad Tea, Alstar, Ruby Cup, Ufulu and The Cambridge Consultancy demonstrates a commitment to ethical and sustainable practices, addressing not only the immediate needs of women but also creating a lasting impact on the communities they serve. This partnership serves as a testament to the power of collective action and the positive change that can be achieved when companies prioritize the well-being and empowerment of women within their businesses and supply chains.

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