Back in December we introduced you to our 2013 supplier grant scheme, which supports our long term suppliers to carry out social and environmental projects within their communities. Here’s an update, from trainee Commodities Buyer Becky Mundy – and though it’s about tea rather than coffee, we thought you might like to hear about it:
We had a fantastic response from our suppliers this year, and we’re keen to share with you the stories of the projects that we’ve helped to support as they progress over the next few months. In fact, we’ve just had an update from our largest tea suppliers, the Kenya Tea Development Agency, about some of the education projects we are helping to make possible.
KTDA is the leading management agency for over 570,000 small scale farmers in Kenya. They collectively produce over 60% of Kenya’s tea. Not only does the KTDA make the most tea in Kenya, but also the very best and it’s that commitment to quality that’s helped us build a strong and close relationship over many years.
In 2010 the KTDA set up the KTDA Foundation, a charity which aims to improve the welfare of small-holder tea farmers in Kenya and their communities. The foundation focuses on education, the environment, and empowering growers and their communities, and as such, they were our perfect partner when it came to supporting social and environmental projects in our producer communities.
As well as supporting tree planting initiatives, the completion of a medical facility, and the completion of an irrigation water project, to describe just a few, this year we’re partnering with the KTDA Foundation to sponsor 21 secondary school students from tea producing communities through four years of secondary education. In Kenya, the government now supports all schoolchildren through primary school education, but secondary school fees are still prohibitively high for many students.
15 year old Harrison Kiprotich Mutai, who grew up near Tirgaga Tea Factory, received excellent results in his primary school exams. However his mother, who has brought Harrison and his eight siblings up on her own and relies on casual labour to make a living, wasn’t able to support him through secondary school. Working with the KTDA Foundation, we have been able to help provide a scholarship to support Harrison through the next four years at secondary school. On 5th February Harrison joined the Kaplong Boys Secondary school, where he’s excited to be studying for the next four years.
Maureen Chelimo, who is 14 year old, grew up near Chebut Tea Factory in Nandi, Kenya. Maureen received exceptional results in her primary school exams and was accepted into Make Limuru Girls School, the best girls school in Kenya, which boasts of alumni of high profile and very successful women including lawyers, doctors, and journalists.
Maureen’s parents didn’t have the funds to support her to attend the school, so Maureen applied for a scholarship through the KTDA Foundation, which we’re helping to support. Maureen enrolled at Limuru on 6th February, and our scholarship will support her for the next four years. 21 students like Harrison and Maureen from across Kenya will have the opportunity to pursue their secondary school education thanks to this initiative.
According to the KTDA, education has been proven by far to be the best tool for improving the socio-economic livelihood of communities in which they work. At Taylors we’re proud to work with suppliers like the KTDA, who care about the communities they work in and want to help improve them.
Our 2013 grant scheme will help their work to go further, building our relationship with the communities we source from for years to come.