Tea Landscapes Adaptation

In line with the Malawi 2020 Tea Revitalization Programme, Greenpop, together with Action for Environmental Sustainability (AFES) and the Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy (CEPA), is currently implementing the Tea Landscapes Adaptation Project (TLAP) in the Thyolo and Mulanje districts in Malawi. This project, which is funded by UTZ/Rainforest Alliance, takes a holistic approach to climate change adaptation and natural resource management which includes not only smallholder tea growers (SHTGs), but all stakeholders within specified catchment areas. The project is focused on the development of landscape adaptation plans to facilitate climate change adaptation within tea growing communities.

To understand the importance of this work, it is first necessary to elucidate the critical role of tea production in Malawi. Today, this country is the second-largest tea producer in Africa after Kenya and produces approximately 10% of Africa’s tea. However, it is also one of the world’s poorest countries with 62% of the population living below the World Bank’s extreme poverty line. The tea sector in Malawi provides one of the most significant sources of employment with over 75,000 people relying on this crop for their livelihoods in the principal tea-growing districts of Thyolo and Mulanje.

Programme Vision

In spite of the present critical role of tea in Malawian livelihoods, the future viability of this crop is not guaranteed. Based on previous assessments, including a climate mapping assessment by the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), it is evident that climate change is, and will continue to be, a challenge for smallholder tea growers and estate workers in Malawi. The climate-related impacts include drought; heavy rain and floods; and high temperatures and heatwaves. These challenges are compounded by issues such as deforestation and soil erosion. Given these circumstances,  there is presently a need to capacitate SHTGs in climate change adaptation to increase their resilience to climate change impacts. The TLAP aims to address that need.

This project will be undertaken in three phases:

Firstly, in order to ensure sustainable adaptation, the TLAP will ensure holistic involvement of key stakeholders such as the farmers, estate owners and workers (both male and female), tea growing communities, tea grower blocks, associations and trusts, and relevant government departments. This engagement will ensure that all the relevant stakeholders have buy-in on the project and ownership of the proposed interventions.

Secondly, a mapping exercise will be conducted to identify the beneficiaries and the key stakeholders in the project, especially women who are crucial to the implementation of adaptation interventions.

Thirdly, various activities such as gender awareness meetings, capacity building in climate change adaptation, alternative livelihoods, sustainable agriculture practices, and lobbying and advocacy will be conducted. It is expected that these activities will lead to the following: the establishment of alternative livelihood sources, increased adoption of sustainable agriculture practices, adoption of gender-sensitive adaptation plans, and engagement in advocacy and lobbying activities.

It is important to note that the TLAP has been designed to complement other initiatives in the UTZ Sector Partnership Programme (SP). Specifically, the project will contribute to some of the key outcomes in the SP theory of change related to gender, lobbying and advocacy, and capacity building. Through the capacity needs assessments, the project will identify the specific capacity needs of the smallholder male and female farmers. These will inform the development of training materials in lobbying, advocacy, and gender which will be used to train the target beneficiaries. Additionally, the project will conduct gender sensitization meetings in targeted communities.

These activities will build a basis for the development of a lobbying and advocacy plan, and female empowerment activities in the SP. As the communities will have been sensitized on gender, and trained in lobbying, advocacy, and gender, the programme can build on these activities and continue to build the capacities of other beneficiaries and promote female empowerment within the formal structures of the smallholder tea growing sector.

It is also expected that the project will enable the communities to participate in decision-making processes due to their increased capacity. This will facilitate the active participation of both women and men in higher-level decision-making processes, including the advocacy for inclusion of their inputs, knowledge, and services into the sector policy.

Programme Outcomes

Project Outcome: Improved resilience of women and men smallholder tea growers to climate change impacts.

Output 1: Mapping and selection of institutional structures and SHTG groups

  • Identify target participants using defined selection criteria;
  • Conduct introductory meetings with Trusts;
  • Conduct introductory meetings with District Executive Committee;
  • Conduct community stakeholder orientation; and
  • Create project monitoring and evaluation plan


Output 2: Natural assets are mapped, available resources understood (asset-based community development)

  • Conduct a baseline study;
  • Conduct asset-based community training including resource mapping;
  • Orient block committees on local and district development planning; and
  • Facilitate development of gender-sensitive adaptation plans

Output 3: Capacity needs in landscape management identified

  • Community mobilisation;
  • Conduct capacity needs assessment in sustainable natural resource management;
  • Conduct capacity needs assessment in good agricultural practices and alternative livelihood; and
  • Conduct capacity needs assessment in advocacy, lobbying and gender


Output 4: Training materials/curriculum developed for pilot communities

  • Develop training materials in sustainable natural resources management (landscape approach);
  • Develop training materials in good agricultural practices and alternative livelihood;
  • Develop training materials in advocacy, lobbying and gender;
  • Conduct training in sustainable natural resources management (landscape approach);
  • Conduct training in good agricultural practices and alternative livelihood;
  • Conduct training in advocacy, lobbying and gender;
  • Conduct gender sensitisation meetings;
  • Facilitate implementation of adaptation plans;
  • Identify advocacy issues at a local level;
  • Develop advocacy strategy;
  • Facilitate implementation of the advocacy strategy; and
  • Conduct community awareness campaigns

Output 5: Learning and dissemination

  • Document best practices and case studies;
  • Publish documented case studies and lessons learnt;
  • Disseminate case studies and best practice publications;
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Bi-Annual meetings; and
  • End of Project Evaluation



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Greenpop Foundation NPC is a registered non-profit organisation. Registration Number (NPO): 151-411 NPO.