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3. Results

Results in capacity development for lobby and advocacy

  • The Wilde Ganzen training ‘mobilizing support’ was given to 25 tea garden working women leaders covering 10 small and big tea gardens to strengthen lobby and advocacy capacities. During the training, they developed specific lobby plans with regard to child labor issues and fair wages. Through further coaching the women got engaged in dialogue on disability inclusion, child labor, women fair wages, and decent working conditions. With the help of ChildLine and Police, five child marriage cases were prevented. Also alcoholism is minimized in the plantation areas as the trained women workers along with Assam Cha Majdur Sangha ( ACMS trade union) have initiated various awareness drives on this issue.

  • For the first time, ten STG groups have succeeded in coming together and form a joint collective of more than 438 members in Dibrugarh area. They are bargaining and negotiating collectively to increase their profits. Similar processes of collectivization have started in other districts (Jorhat, Tinsukia and Udaligiri) so that a larger force of STGs can be created for advocacy, lobby and negotiations related to their rights.

  • Over 300 STGs, many of them young people, have been trained on various labor rights and responsible business related issues and they are using these learnings very positively to create change. Some examples are:
    Trained youth from tea plantations take part in awareness raising programs such as street play, puppet show, to prevent school dropout, child marriage and trafficking.
    After the training on responsible business practices, STGs are now following the Plant Protection Code recommended by Tea Board of India.

  • STGs were also trained in lobby and advocacy for economic improvements and good agricultural practices (GAP). Training was given in cooperation with the Tea Research Association, Dibrugarh University and government experts. Results of these trainings:
    Improved organization and cooperation of producers’ organizations and with government agencies.
    Minimize the role of green leaf agent and now direct transport their green leaves to the Bought Leaf Factories.

  • Stronger bargaining skills, resulting for example in a MoU between Kuhipat STG SHG and Bought Leaf Factories for better rates for green leafs: an average rate of Rs 22 –Rs 24 per kg versus Rs 15 at the beginning of the intervention.

  • Six civil society organizations and various STGs have been trained and sensitized on disability inclusion of people with disabilities in programs and to lobby for their rights and inclusion. As a result:
    Partners and their staff have initiated field level mapping of disabled persons, to be able to link PLWDs with government schemes and benefits.
    The Alliance and its partners are regularly lobbying with the district child protection committee for policy level changes.
    Youth clubs are taking up issues related to youth with disabilities in their skills and livelihoods activities.

Results in lobby and advocacy

  • Parallel to the advocacy work at community and STG level, we engage in a multi-stakeholder lobby and advocacy approach at higher administrative levels. Civic Engagement Alliance has initiated a multi actor working group, consisting of small tea growers associations, the Tea Board of India, the trade union, academic institutes, the tea association of India, Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha, the Assam chambers of commerce, STG owners, tea corporates and related government departments. These key stakeholders and critical actors are brought together in common platforms to discuss issues of responsible business and human rights and possible solutions. Several other stakeholders, including some prominent donor agencies have shown interest to collaborate and play complementary roles.
  • STGs have become more aware of the government schemes and finance available with various agencies. One very good example is the access to financial subsidy from a local bank for purchase of a vehicle for tea leaves transportation.
  • As a responsible business practice, owners of STGs are collaborating with government health services and have jointly organized health camps for their workers in the communities they are living.
  • With our continuous engagement with the government, a notification by Governor of Assam in September 2018 has been released, where special mention of tea gardens been made, to include them in village/block level child protection committees (governmental) and implement the guidelines for child protection.
  • Two STGs (Kuhipat and Ujwala) have become role models on responsible and sustainable business practices for replication by many other STGs due to their visible growth in terms of business, linkage with the government/ financial institutions and responsible practices. They are convinced of the importance of investment in inclusive social development of their workers and communities. Best example of this has been through the creation of ‘Labor Welfare Funds’ by both STGs groups. These labor funds are created by saving a certain portion of profit from each kilogram of leaves that are produced in the gardens. This is for the first time, such labor fund is created which is being used for the welfare of labor, education and health issues of women and children, including scholarships for differently abled children.
  • Three STGs groups (Kuhipat, Ujjwal and Gordhuria) have agreed to extend maternity support to their women workers and have organized regular free health check-up camps for their workers.
  • The same STGs groups have agreed to paying equal wages to both women and men, a raise from INR130/day to 140/day.
  • A process of drafting a Code of Conduct for the STGs has been started with involvement of various stakeholders (grassroot level workers and Tea Board, Tea Corporates and certification agencies) which will include roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders along with self-regulatory instruments with emphasis on responsible business behavior. Acceptance of this code of conduct will improve respect of human and labor rights.

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