This could be through better agricultural practices and land management, diversification of their income base, or business skills development, often carried out through Farmer Field Schools (FFS).
Participation in Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) programmes also has a positive impact on farmer and worker incomes and quality of life, including improvements in housing and diet. Thanks to a nutrition and sanitation programme, farmers and workers now also have better access to healthy foods and understand the need for better nutrition.
of tea farmers attended Farmer Field Schools
Good agricultural practices, increased yields, higher quality for 10,564 farmers (81% women)
Growing drought-resistant tea seeds
in 59 community nurseries run by FFS famers, 9 of which received business coaching to enable operating as micro-enterprises.
of all tea farmers received nutrition training
11,579 (81% women) farmers are improving access to more nutritious diets and better hygiene practices.
of FFS farmers attending business management training
in Farmer Business Schools
Farmers and workers participated in Village Savings and Loans
Increasing financial security
We have really enjoyed delivering our smallholder programmes. On the basis of a wide-ranging body of work - covering gender, nutrition, entrepreneurship, tea agronomy, nursery establishment, beekeeping – we were able to strengthen the trust that the farming communities placed in us. This led us to identify more and more needs, which we then did our best to address. Because of the amount of investment we were able to leverage for our work, and the confidence our funders placed in our team, we were able to test new concepts and approaches. Some of these, e.g. the VSLAs, proved to be more impactful than we would ever have imagined, and we are rolling these out in other tea regions too. There is a lot that can be done still to support farmers with building more resilient livelihoods, and we are looking forward to the next phase. We particularly would like to stay engaged on activities that keep pushing up farmers’ incomes while at the same time supporting environmental conservation and regeneration in the tea growing districts.
Farmers said they are eating items from each of the 6 food groups every week after learning about nutrition
compared to 17% prior to the training
Farmers increased the amount of food they ate
with this change being reflected across all members of the household
Farmers were practicing the cooking recipes they learned in the training
Farmers constructed hand washing stations (tippy-taps) following the training
82% of these were found to be operational and actively used for handwashing
Farmers indicated that they had increased the number of times they washed their hands
with 90% reporting that they use soap every time they wash their hands
VSLA members perceived their financial security to have improved due to VSLA participation.Respondents percentage that has VSLA as their only saving mechanism 7379% Percentage of respondents that said VSLA participation has helped them to better keep track of household expenses 79Percentage of respondents that said the same of business expenses 69Two-thirds of respondents did not have savings before joining their VSLA group.
Respondents have remained in their group since they joinedRespondents percentage 99Percentage of respondents highlighted that ‘good financial returns’ is a key driver of group retention 92
Respondents increased the number of income generating activities (IGAs) they were involved in due to their participation in the VSLA.Percentage of respondents involved in IGAs after VSLA participation 47Percentage of female respondents that said they are now very involved in decision-making around the use of household money, including savings. 74There is a positive correlation between the number of years involved in the VSLA and the number of IGAs a member is engaged in. Women’s involvement in decisions regarding income sources and IGAs has also increased substantially
VSLA members perceived their financial security to have improved due to VSLA participation. The VSLA also has had a sizeable impact on asset ownership among respondentsPercentage of respondents reported having iron sheets on their roofs PRIOR to VSLA engagement 41Percentage of respondents reported having iron sheets on their roofs AFTER VSLA engagement 91Percentage of respondents reported owning a mobile phone BEFORE joining VSLA 33Percentage of respondents reported now owning a mobile phone (AFTER joining VSLA) 74
The VSLA has had a significant impact on quality of lifePercentage of the respondents that referred to a positive change in emotional well-being 89Percentage that also mentioned improved household diets 87
Improvement in their status after joining VSLAPercentage of respondents that indicated their status in society had improved 89Percentage of respondents that said their status in their family had improved as well 72Percentage of respondents that have been able to help other people (outside of the household) with money made through the VSLA 47